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“New Vermonters” and New Perspectives on Vermont Migration

Author: Pablo Bose

From: The Northeastern Geographer, Vol. 7



As the papers in this special issue demonstrate, the story of migration into and out of Vermont is a complex one. For urban geographers or migration studies specialists the state would not seem like an obvious place to situate one’s work. Instead the bulk of such scholarship has focused on large-scale immigration, especially to so-called ‘gateway cities’ like New York, Toronto, and London (Singer, Hardwick and Brettel 2008). Yet as these collected papers and much of the emerging dynamics of migration in Vermont today demonstrate, the state is a microcosm—albeit with its own peculiarities and uniqueness—of many of the same processes, motivations and dynamics that have driven people in and out of place in the United States as well as internationally, both historically and in the present moment. In this paper therefore I shall briefly lay out some of the connections between migration patterns in Vermont and these broader global processes. I begin by briefly reviewing some of the key concepts in migration scholarship and examine how the papers in this special issue illustrate such themes. In the second half of this paper I focus more specifically on my own research on migrations in Vermont with a discussion of some of the most recent movements into the state, those of officially resettled refugees over the past three decades. As with the movements in and out of Vermont highlighted by the other authors in this issue, refugee arrivals and acculturation demonstrate both the similarities and stark differences in migration flows in a semi-rural region in the northeastern part of the United States with the movements of people across the globe.