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Tracking Changes in the North Country: Carsey Researcher Releases 'The State of Coos County'

By Amy Sterndale, The Carsey Institute
May 21, 2008

Coos County residents are largely optimistic about their future despite significant economic challenges, especially in the Berlin/Gorham area, finds a new study from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire. As part of a three-pronged effort to understand the ongoing changes in New Hampshire’s North Country and surrounding counties, researchers at the Carsey Institute have surveyed more than 1,700 adult residents of Coos County, New Hampshire and Oxford County, Maine and have published the results today in “The State of Coos County,” a policy brief by Chris Colocousis.

“The report demonstrates the tenuous position that the county is in today,” said Colocousis, a Carsey research assistant and a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of New Hampshire. His recent work has focused on the dynamics of change in North Country communities. The survey asked about 100 questions on residents’ experiences of change, their levels of concern about environmental issues, and the key issues they feel their communities are facing.

Rachael Stuart, senior program director at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, said, “The North Country is in the midst of a transformation of historic proportion. The Carsey report, which describes this region as at a crossroads, provides insights into how Coos County residents are thinking and feeling about new challenges...and new opportunities. Not surprisingly, more than two-thirds of those surveyed say they live in Coos County for the extraordinary natural amenities and quality of life. At the same time, opportunities for youth and good paying jobs are identified as significant challenges. The report challenges us all—local residents, policy makers and community leaders—to consider how the county can utilize the rich natural and social resources to create a new, vibrant future for the region.”

The brief is part of a joint project with the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, which includes a bi-annual survey of adults in Coos and Oxford counties; a 10-year panel study following youth; and a socio-economic indicator site that will provide researchers and policy makers regularly updated data about the region. That project has also launched a website today that will serve as a valuable center of original research for area policy makers and non-profit organizations. The website can be found at www.carseyinstitute.unh.edu/trackingchanges.html.

The brief, The State of Coos County, can be found at: http://carseyinstitute.unh.edu/trackingchanges_publications.htm. For a hard copy of the brief, please contact Amy Sterndale at the Carsey Institute.


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