Vermont Research News - February 7, 2018


Vermont sends more athletes per capita to the winter games than any state in the U.S. And the state’s winter medal count tops many 

countries. This week about 30 athletes with Vermont ties will be competing in Pyeongchang, South Korea. A new book, Norwich: One Tiny Vermont Town's Secret to Happiness and Excellence, by New York Times reporter Karen Crouse looks at why Norwich has sent so many athletes. The book argues that Norwich kids don’t specialize, their parents are hands-off and it’s about having fun over winning. See Interview with author on NPR’s Here and Now.


The impacts of climate change on Vermont’s ski areas was modeled in an article in Tourism Management. The researchers looked at 103 ski areas in the northeast finding that many will not be viable by the middle of this century. See also recent reporting by Maine Public Radio and this EPA Vermont fact sheet.

A recent study conducted by a group of UVM students synthesized a number of interviews into a narrative chronicling the impacts of a changing climate on average Vermonters. Some of the most frequently cited concerns related to the mental stress associated with rising tick populations and shorter ski seasons.


Vermont’s hub-and-spoke model of opiate addiction treatment has been documented as highly successful in a recent study led by UVM research professor Dr. Richard Rawson. Patients in this treatment system—which provides medication-assisted therapy—experienced an 89 percent reduction in emergency department visits, and a 90 percent decrease in police stops and arrests. See the Seven Days article for further analysis.


Vermont was one of thirteen states to earn a failing grade in the 2018 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws. The annual report, released by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, focused on states’ laws designed to keep roads safe—including mandating motorcyclists to wear helmets, imposing teen driving restrictions and installing red-light cameras. Vermont suffered 62 fatalities in 2016, and motor vehicle crashes cost the state $538 million.


Vermont was raned the third healthiest state in America’s Health Rankings Annual Report, behind only Massachusetts and Hawaii. The strong performance was a sharp improvement from the first time the study was conducted in 1990, when the state ranked 20th. Some key findings from the report were the increase in premature deaths nationally for the third consecutive year—along with a rise in cardiovascular and drug deaths.

Contrasting the nation’s overall declining health in preterm births, Vermont was one of just four states, including New Hampshire, to earn an “A” grade on the latest March of Dimes Birth Report Card. Vermont had the lowest prematurity rate in the country at 7.3 percent. See the Vermont Biz article for more information.


Yes, Vermont has been ranked the safest state in the nation. However, recent rankings put two of Vermont’s cities on the list of most sinful cities. Burlington was ranked 136th while South Burlington was ranked 182nd. The rankings are based upon various factors including violent crimes, theft, excessive drinking, charitable donations, adult entertainment establishments, tanning salons, and exercising.


Recent research indicates that migration imposes a significant emotional effect in the form of homesickness, distinct from nostalgia. Out-migrants from rural areas of Vermont expressed a longing for the state’s landscape in a recent research study by Cheryl Morse and Jill Mudgett – suggesting that the signature elements of the natural environment should be added to definitions of home.

Vermont historian Jill Mudgett sheds light on why young Vermonters leave the state.


A recent study points to significant relationships between proximity of farmstead and waterway and phosphorus levels, as well as trend of increased phosphorus levels associated with cover cropping. A group of Middlebury College students distributed a survey to 250 farms to report management practices and utilized a statistical software to relate these findings to Lake Champlain.


Vermont grew, slightly, for the first time in seven years according to the Vermont Data Center. The state added .05 percent, up about 300 people from the previous year. Growth in Vermont was concentrated in Chittenden County while some counties lost population. See also Art Woolf Column in the Free Press who notes this was the first increase since 2013.


Recent racist flyers found on the UVM campus are part of a rise in racial violence on college campuses according to a new report by The Anti-Defamation League. The report said racist fliers, banners and stickers were found on college campuses 147 times in fall 2017, a more than threefold increase over the 41 cases reported one year before.


Green Mountain Scholar: Samuel B. Hand, Dean of Vermont Historians includes articles on subjects ranging from the Mountain Rule, Senator Aiken’s role in ending the Vietnam war and Vermont state politics. Essays are authored by Sam Hand and a number of his colleagues including Marilyn Blackwell, Deborah Clifford, David Donath, Paul Gillies, Michael Sherman, Steve Terry, Mark Stoler, Arthur Kunin, Gregory Sanford, Jeffrey Marshall, Paul Searls, Nicholas Muller and Jeffrey Potash. For more information contact the Center for Research on Vermont.

The recently published book Hidden History of Vermont by Mark Bushnell encompasses 15 years of the author’s writing about Vermont’s past and gives a glimpse into the life of the state and previously untold stories. The book profiles famous Vermonters and events, including state efforts to ban billboards. See the piece in VPR ( for more details.



The Vermont Research News is a bi-monthly curated collection of Vermont research - focused on research in the Vermont "laboratory" - research that provides original knowledge to the world and research that adds to understanding of the state's social, economic, cultural and physical environment. Send your news items to Editor Kirsti Blow.


Sophia A. Trigg