Where Have all the Yutes Gone?

Vinny Gambini: It is possible that the two yutes… 

Judge Chamberlain Haller: …Ah, the two what? Uh… uh, what was that word? 
Vinny Gambini: Uh… what word? 
Judge Chamberlain Haller: Two what? 
Vinny Gambini: What? 
Judge Chamberlain Haller: Uh… did you say ‘yutes’? 
Vinny Gambini: Yeah, two yutes. 
Judge Chamberlain Haller: What is a yute? 
Vinny Gambini: [beat] Oh, excuse me, your honor… 
Vinny Gambini: Two YOUTHS. 

Joe Pesci and Fred Gwynne (My Cousin Vinny, 1992)

First there was a brain drain.  But by now kidneys, lungs, and all other organ parts have long blown the joint.  The yutes of Connecticut are all gone.  Between 2000 and 2010 Connecticut’s population increased by 168,532 individuals, a 4.9 percent increase.  Yes – an increase.  But hold off a tad before you start planning a welcoming party for all these folks.  Despite the positive spin from the state of Connecticut via the deft hand of Patrick Flaherty who proceeds to make lemonade “Young People Aren’t Fleeing and the Cities Arent’ Dying” things are pretty grim.  It turns out stark and alarming trends emerge once we take a look at how the different age groups fared relative to each other within Connecticut and how Connecticut fared when compared to the rest of the country.  What do we find? Practically the entire gain in people in the state was seniors age 55 or older. And most of Connecticut’s youngun’s are gone – and going: the under 20 crowd declined by 1.1 percent and the 20-34 group barely budged at a measly 1.4 percent.

Let’s take a closer look.  What are others saying?  A study on the relocation habits of recent college grads– here – by Alicia Sasser Modestino at the Boston Federal Reserve Bank reveals an interesting statistic.  How many of our kids stay in Connecticut after they graduate from one of our colleges?  I have recalculated Table 1 to reflect the information for Connecticut (as opposed to Massachusetts in Appendix Table 2 – here – of the Sasser Modestino Report). 

Table 1

Percent of Recent Graduates Educated Within the

State – 1 Year After Graduation


Class of 2008

Class of 2000

Class of 1993





Connecticut Rank




Competitor states








New York




North Carolina

















Pretty darn poor record – less than half of those we educate and train stay around; and by comparison with the class of 1993 Connecticut’s performance in keeping those we educate is getting worse.  And in case you were wondering – the Same Boston Fed report concludes that “recent college graduates are leaving the region primarily for employment-related reasons.”  But we already knew that (see my lack-of-jobs rant here).


Let’s check some more.  Using readily available Bureau of the Census 2010 census data we ask – how has Connecticut fared?  Then – second – we ask how Connecticut should have fared had it resembled the broader (United States) experience – its relative performance.

How did Connecticut fare?  Table 2 contains data for Connecticut.  “Pre-adults” consists of the population under 20, the 20 to 34 year-olds are considered “Young Workers,” “Mid-Career” the 35-54 year olds, “Older Workers” are those between 55-64 years of age, and “Retirees” are age 65 and older. All data is from the Bureau of the Census for the respective years and geographical unit.[1]

Table 2




% Change

Total Population





Age Group
Pre-Adults (Under 20)





Young Workers (20-34)





Mid-Career Workers (35-54)





Older Workers (55-64)





Retirees (65 and Over)











What do we find? The Young Workers segment increased at a rate of 1.4 percent.  Although positive the gain is middling compared to the increase of 6.4 percent nationally for the same age group.  And pity the Mid-Career workers of our state.  Whereas nationally this group increased by a tad under 4 percent, we registered a decline of 20 basis points.  The figure below visually reproduces the data table.

Figure 1


Source: US Bureau of the Census

And as you can see – we did really well with the energetic, entrepreneurial, innovative silver-hair set.


Still, let us put things into perspective.  And it looks even worse.  It is possible and important to distinguish the relative influence of national forces from State-wide forces.  A shift-share analysis identifies what portion of each group’s change in Connecticut resembles change in the United States – and what portion is unique to Connecticut.[2]

The table below contains national data on the same age groups for the same period.

Table 3

United States




% Change

Total Population





Age Group
Pre-Adults (Under 20)





Young Workers (20-34)





Mid-Career Workers (35-54)





Older Workers (55-64)





Retirees (65 and Over)






Table 4 nets out the portion of each Connecticut group’s reported change that is attributable to common national patterns.  This net effect is the Connecticut “sauce” – our doing, our’s alone.  For example, Connecticut’s Pre-Adult (under 20) population shrank by 9,929 from 2000 to 2010.  Had Connecticut mirrored the national average, we would have experienced a net gain of 32,143 individuals. Consequently, the Connecticut effect is -42,072    (-9,929 – 32,143 = -42,072) or almost 5 percent of the average size of the group.[3] Same calculation is documented for all the groups.

Table 4

Age Group

Average Population

CT Effect


Pre-Adults (Under 20)




Young Workers (20-34)




Mid-Career Workers (35-54)




Older Workers (55-64)




Retirees (65 and Over)





Connecticut’s birth and death rates do not differ much from national averages.  Thus, we can surmise that net out-migration is the most likely cause of the observed population changes.[4] The figure below conveys the table information graphically.

Figure 2


Interesting – the senior set proportion increased in Connecticut but less so than for the United States.  And as for the yutes – forget about it.  Folks left – have been leaving, and will continue to leave – simply put.  They are voting with their feet.  The only ones interested in coming up here are Rick Perry and other state governors angling to take more work to friendlier climes.  Gail Collins – what do you say about that?  Here’s what your state – Connecticut – has to boast: no jobs, hyper-expensive housing, taxes up the wazoo, no jobs, a regulations morass, no jobs, regulatory paralysis, no confidence on the political leadership, no jobs, – can you blame folks for leaving?




[1] http://www.census.gov (visited 11/25/2012).

[2] See James R. Moor, “Connecticut’s Workforce Drain,” The Connecticut Economy (Summer 2002), pp: 6-7; See, for example, Steven P. Lanza, “Connecticut Job Losses: Our Share of National Effects? Or Are We Shifting Ourselves? The Connecticut Economy (Spring 2004), pp: 6-7. I draw from Lanza for the analysis here.

[3] The average size of the group is obtained by adding up the 2000 and 2010 recorded group population and dividing by two.

[4] In 2007, the United States death rate was 803.6 per 100,000 whereas Connecticut’s was 818.1.  Source: CDC/NCHS National Vital Statistics System, Mortality.  In turn, the United States reported birth rate in 2010 was 13.0 births per 1,000 population (3,999,386 births); Connecticut reported 10.6 births per 1,000 population (37,708). Source: Births: Final Data for 2010, National Vital Statistics Report, Volume 61, No.1 (August 2012). US Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control & Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics.



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  1. No wonder graduate enrollment is declining. This is what happens when you have a tax and spend policy.

  2. The data about CT doesn’t surprise me – nor will I raise more than one eyebrow if the idiot governor gets re-elected after allowing the youth (and our jobs) to flee the state. One big question remains, though – how the hell did NY to increase their percentage over 6 points in eight years despite the evidence here: http://mercatus.org/sites/default/files/Freedom_in_the_50_States.pdf? Or has that much really changed since 2008?

  3. The property value is already low. It is almost falling to the 2000 level. Given the Fed is likely to raise the interest rate and the stupid politicians in CT looksl like we are going to get a major hit in the housing market andl lose the property value down the road.

  4. Xavier williamson Reply June 21, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Classic right wing capitalist logic. It’s all about the profit and people are just numbers in the equation. The older people “dr Rodriguez” (yeah dr in what, republican propaganda?) cites as drags on the economy are our parnents and grandparents. They worked hard, paid their taxes, paid social security, they deserve our gratitude.

    What he forgets is how much people love this state. Everyone I knows loves living here and would never consider moving to a state filled with a bunch of self serving and selfish people like Texas.

    I hope when he retires his kids view him as a drag on the economy!

  5. As for Xavier, I’m pretty certain my kids, and his, will view us as drags upon retirement.

    More seriously, I would raise one issue that merits some further study. (I agree with the overall analysis and certainly wouldn’t argue with data.) Connecticut is somewhat unique in the following manner: It’s primarily a suburban or feeder state: It has many excellent, even a few world-beating, universities, but no great metropolis. It’s not surprising that a large number of graduates of Yale go to Boston or New York. I would assume that is similar to graduates of Stanford and Berkeley going to San Francisco and Los Angeles or graduates of Notre Dame going to Chicago. I’m assuming that that accounts for a large part of the reason that CT has always lagged the states in your comparison for retention after graduation. Yes, the trend is bad, but the level has always lagged Illinois, California, etc. It would be interesting to develop a comparison based on “distance to major metropolises” irrespective of the “legacy” of state borders. I’m guessing that CT, or at least New Haven, is similar to South Bend, but that Indiana is significantly different from CT. Likewise, I assume that Austin resembles CT on this measure, with most graduates heading to Dallas or Houston. An extreme, structural example: No one, literally, from West Point stays in New York State after graduation. They get sent off to some Army post for additional training, or into combat in Afghanistan, etc.

  6. Smart and ambitious students from CT going to University here and leaving the State for better opportunities? I say, just because that’s the way it is does mean that’s the way it has to be. New York City has figured out how to become the #2 tech jobs employer area in the nation, at least that is based upon a recent study I read. It did not happen by happenstance, the city put in to place policies to make it happen. As my old AOL boss used to say “we have to stop comparing ourselves to the rest of the pigs in the pigpen, because even the best looking pig in the pen is still a pig”. He would go on the say we have to compare ourselves against the thoroughbred horses to have breakout ideas and make meaningful progress

    One would think that because a World renown University attracts students from all over the world that a lot of them would leave the area after graduation because they had no social ties to the area. However, that does not seem to be the case with Boston and MA in general.

    If you look at A-Rod’s tables, one interpretation is that CT taxpayers are subsidizing the workforce education of the surrounding states. So I have a proposal,if we are just happy to be one of the better looking pigs in the pen lets eliminate State funding of higher education, because all we are doing is educating MA, NY, CA, FL workforce for them. Or, we can do like East Germany did and build a wall. The agreement would be that if you attend a State school and accept the taxpayer subsidy you can not work out of the state until 4 years after graduation.

    Or, better yet, we can create an environment where the investment in our brightest and most capable students remains in CT and stop fighting over whether or not we should have Keno.