by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis
People are driving out of Rhode Island in droves, and never coming back. In fact, Rhode Island lost 24 thousand residents since 2004, the sharpest drop ever, according to the latest U.S. Census data.
People graduating from college, tell us why.
Chris Margadonna, a recent Rhode Island College graduate said, "I think that people are saying there aren't teaching jobs here, so they are going to other states. They are going to Connecticut, they are going to Massachusetts. Trying to find teaching jobs outside of Rhode Island."
Another student says she is off to Texas as soon as she graduates.
Sierra Sant'anna, will graduate from RIC in May. She said, "I read that San Antonio and Austin are ranked fairly high for job availability for college graduates. And Austin also has a great grad program for what I am interested in studying."
The high cost of housing was also cited by some as a reason people are leaving Rhode Island.
ABC6 Reporter Mark Curtis said, "The story is more than just about population. It is also about political clout. If Rhode Island continues to see more cars moving out of state – than in state, with news residents, we could lose one of our two seats in the U.S. House of Representatives."
To attract more people, some think Rhode Island needs to work on its national image, and its self– image.
Dr. Kay Israel, a Rhode Island College Public Relations Professor said, "That you try to emphasize the positives, try to indicate what's right about this state. The other issue, is just live with reality, and just say look, we're in a falling situation. You are not going to get population growth if you do the latter."
Vermont was the only state besides Rhode Island, to lose population, in the past year.