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Conservative think tank report recommends Connecticut focus on attracting residents to achieve growth

Michelle R. Smith

The 2020 U.S. Census revealed a troubling pattern for Connecticut. A new report from the Yankee Institute shows Connecticut ranked last and has the lowest population growth in New England. The national population increased by over 7% in 47 states over the past decade.

Ken Giaradin, who co-wrote the report at the conservative think-tank, said Connecticut’s problem stems from a failure to attract enough residents.

“Connecticut has been focused on the wrong thing for a long time. We've been worried about how we can retain people, how do we keep people from living but guess what? That’s not our problem. The problem is people aren’t moving here in the first place,Giaradin said.

The report shows fewer people have moved to Connecticut than have left the state for 31 consecutive years. The state has lost 126 residents to other states for every 100 people that moved in.

Giaradin said policymakers have been focused on people leaving.

“Connecticut’s policymakers need to change their thinking about people leaving Connecticut. It’s not the problem. The problem is people aren’t moving to Connecticut,” he said.

Giaradin said the driving disadvantage is the state isn’t adding enough private sector jobs, like the rest of the country. He said policymakers need to talk to people across the country to understand the lack of attraction to the state.

A few large companies announced plans to relocate to Connecticut to escape New York City during the pandemic.

Still, the report revealed that since 1970 Connecticut has fallen among the slowest-growing third of states in all five federal censuses.

Clare is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.