Vermont

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Vermont

Vermont is a state in the New England region of the United States. It borders the states of Massachusetts to the south, New Hampshire to the east, and New York to the west, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north. Vermont is the only state in New England that does not border the Atlantic Ocean. Vermont is the second-least-populated U.S. state after Wyoming and the sixth-smallest by area of the 50 U.S. states with a recorded population of 643,503 according to the 2020 U.S. census. The state capital is Montpelier, the least-populous state capital in the United States. The most-populous city, Burlington, is the least-populous city to be the most-populous city in a state.

Etymology

Samuel de Champlain claimed the area around what is now Lake Champlain, giving the name Vert Mont (Green Mountain) to the region he found, on a 1647 map. Evidence suggests that this name came into use among English settlers, before it morphed to “Vermont”, ca. 1760. In 1777, Thomas Young introduced the name in writing with a broadside “To the Inhabitants of Vermont, a Free and Independent State”.

Geography

Vermont is located in the New England region of the northeastern United States and comprises 9,614 square miles (24,900 km2), making it the 45th-largest state. It is the only state that does not have any buildings taller than 124 feet (38 m). Land comprises 9,250 square miles (24,000 km2) and water comprises 365 square miles (950 km2), making it the 43rd-largest in land area and the 47th in water area. In total area, it is larger than El Salvador and smaller than Haiti. It is the only landlocked state in New England, and it is the easternmost and the smallest in area of all landlocked states.

The Green Mountains in Vermont form a north–south spine running most of the length of the state, slightly west of its center. In the southwest portion of the state are located the Taconic Mountains. In the northwest, near Lake Champlain, is the fertile Champlain Valley. In the south of the valley is Lake Bomoseen. The west bank of the Connecticut River marks the state’s eastern border with New Hampshire, though much of the river flows within New Hampshire’s territory. 41% of Vermont’s land area is part of the Connecticut River’s watershed.

Climate

The annual mean temperature for the state is 43 °F (6 °C). Vermont has a humid continental climate, with muddy springs, in general a mild early summer, hot Augusts; it has colorful autumns: Vermont’s hills reveal red, orange, and (on sugar maples) gold foliage as cold weather approaches. Winters are colder at higher elevations. It has a Köppen climate classification of Dfb, a temperate continental climate.

The rural northeastern section known as the “Northeast Kingdom” often averages 10 °F (5.6 °C) colder than the southern areas of the state during winter. The annual snowfall averages between 60 and 100 inches (1,500 and 2,500 mm) depending on elevation. Vermont is the seventh coldest state in the country.

Climate Change

Climate change in Vermont encompasses the effects of climate change, attributed to man-made increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide, in the U.S. state of Vermont. The state is already seeing effects of climate change that affect its ecosystems, economy and public health. According to the Vermont state government, rainfall has significantly increased in the last 50 years, storms and flooding have increased, and winters have become warmer and shorter. These changes have led to significant impacts on both the winter tourism industry, and a decline in critical agricultural and woodland industries like maple sugaring. The state openly acknowledges and is developing programs that respond to global warming. Vermont was one of the first states in the United States to adopt greenhouse gas emissions goals in 2006.

Geology

There are five distinct physiographic regions of Vermont. Categorized by geological and physical attributes, they are the Northeastern Highlands, the Green Mountains, the Taconic Mountains, the Champlain Lowlands, and the Vermont Piedmont. About 500 million years ago, Vermont was part of Laurentia and located in the tropics. The central and southern Green Mountain range include the oldest rocks in Vermont, formed about one billion years ago during the first mountain building period (or orogeny). 

Subsequently, about 400 million years ago, the second mountain building period created Green Mountain peaks that were 15,000–20,000 feet (4,600–6,100 m) tall, three to four times their current height and comparable to the Himalayas. The geological pressures that created those peaks remain evident as the Champlain Thrust, running north–south to the west of the mountains (now the eastern shore of Lake Champlain). It is an example of geological fault thrusting where bedrock is pushed over the newer rock formation.

Demographics

Population

According to the United States Census Bureau, the state of Vermont had a population of 643,503 in the 2020 U.S. census. At the of July 1, 2019 Population Estimates Program, Vermont had an estimated population of 623,989. This included a natural increase of 3,178 (31,716 births minus 28,538 deaths) and a decrease due to net migration of 2,432 people out of the state. In 2006, it had the second lowest birthrate in the nation, 42/1000 women. The center of population of Vermont is located in Washington County, in the town of Warren.

As of 2014, 51.3% of Vermont's population was born in the state (compared with 58.7% for the United States). The changing demographics between those with multi-generational ties to the state and those who are newcomers, bringing different values with them, has resulted in a degree of tension between the two perspectives. This tension is expressed in the terms, "Woodchuck", being applied to those established in the state, and "Flatlander", applied to the newcomers. Vermont is the least populous New England state. As of 2012, Vermont was one of only two states in the U.S. with fewer people than the District of Columbia (Wyoming was the other).

Dialect

Linguists have identified speech patterns found among Vermonters as belonging to Western New England English, a dialect of New England English, which features full pronunciation of all r sounds, pronouncing horse and hoarse the same, and pronouncing vowels in father and bother the same, none of which are features traditionally shared in neighboring Eastern New England English. Some rural speakers realize the t as a glottal stop (mitten sounds like "mi'in" and Vermont like "Vermon' "). A dwindling segment of the Vermont population, generally both rural and male, pronounces certain vowels in a distinctive manner (e.g. cows with a raised vowel as [kʰɛʊz] and ride with a backed, somewhat rounded vowel as [ɹɒɪd]).

Eastern New England English—also found in New Hampshire, Maine and eastern Massachusetts—was common in eastern Vermont in the mid-twentieth century and before, but has become rare. This accent drops the r sound in words ending in r (farmer sounds like "farm-uh") and adds an r sound to some words ending in a vowel (idea sounds like "idee-er") was common. Those characteristics in eastern Vermont appear to have been inherited from West Country and Scots-Irish ancestors.

Religion

There are five distinct physiographic regions of Vermont. Categorized by geological and physical attributes, they are the Northeastern Highlands, the Green Mountains, the Taconic Mountains, the Champlain Lowlands, and the Vermont Piedmont. About 500 million years ago, Vermont was part of Laurentia and located in the tropics. The central and southern Green Mountain range include the oldest rocks in Vermont, formed about one billion years ago during the first mountain building period (or orogeny). 

Subsequently, about 400 million years ago, the second mountain building period created Green Mountain peaks that were 15,000–20,000 feet (4,600–6,100 m) tall, three to four times their current height and comparable to the Himalayas. The geological pressures that created those peaks remain evident as the Champlain Thrust, running north–south to the west of the mountains (now the eastern shore of Lake Champlain). It is an example of geological fault thrusting where bedrock is pushed over the newer rock formation.

Economy

In 2016, Vermont had a total employment of 262,705, and the total employer establishments were 21,174. In 2019, VermontBiz reported a WalletHub ranking of Vermont 43rd as place to start a business, citing Vermont as 49th in average growth of small businesses and 50th in the availability of human capital. CNBC ranked Vermont 32nd as a place to do business in 2018, citing access to capital as the largest impediment. While U.S. News ranked Vermont 37th for “business environment”, it ranked it 18th for employment in 2019. Forbes magazine as the 42nd best state in which to do business in 2015, 32nd in 2007, and 30th in 2006.

Canada was Vermont’s largest foreign trade partner in 2007. The state’s second-largest foreign trade partner was Taiwan. The state had $4 billion worth of commerce with Quebec. One measure of economic activity in Vermont is retail sales. The state had $5.2 billion in 2007. In 2008, 8,631 new businesses were registered in Vermont, a decline of 500 from 2007. 

Agriculture

Agriculture contributed 2.2% of the state’s domestic product in 2000. In 2000, about 3% of the state’s working population engaged in agriculture. As of 2014, the Pew Research Center estimated that farms in the state employed fewer than 5,000 illegal immigrants. In 2017, Vermont Governor Phil Scott announce that the state was “exploring a legal challenge” to the executive order signed by President Donald Trump for Vermont law enforcement authorities to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and “perform the functions of immigration officers in relation to the investigation, apprehension, or detention of aliens”.

Dairy farming

Dairy farming is the primary source of agricultural income. In the second half of the 20th century, developers had plans to build condos and houses on what was relatively inexpensive, open land. Vermont's government responded with a series of laws controlling development and with some pioneering initiatives to prevent the loss of Vermont's dairy industry. Still, the number of Vermont dairy farms has declined more than 85% from the 11,206 dairy farms operating in 1947. In 2003, there were fewer than 1,500 dairy farms in the state; in 2006 there were 1,138; in 2019 there were 658. The number of dairy farms has been diminishing by 10% annually. 80% of open land is controlled by dairy farms.

The number of cattle in Vermont had declined by 40%; however, milk production has doubled in the same period due to tripling the production per cow. While milk production rose, Vermont's market share declined. Within a group of states supplying the Boston and New York City markets (called "Federal order Class I"), Vermont was third in market share, with 10.6%; New York has 44.9% and Pennsylvania has 32.9%. In 2007, dairy farmers received a record $23.60 for 100 pounds (45 kg) (11.63 gallons at $2.03/gallon) of milk. This dropped in 2008 to $17 ($1.46/gallon). The average dairy farm produced 1.3 million pounds of milk annually in 2008.

Forestry

Forest products have always been a staple to the economy, comprising 1% of the total gross state output and 9% of total manufacturing as of 2013. In 2007, Windham County contained the largest concentration of kilns for drying lumber east of the Mississippi River. The decline of farms has resulted in a regrowth of Vermont's forests due to ecological succession. Today, most of Vermont's forests are secondary. The state and non-profit organizations are actively encouraging regrowth and careful forest management. Over 78% of the land area of the state is forested compared to only 37% in the 1880s, when sheep farming was at its peak and large amounts of acreage were cleared for grazing. Over 85% of that area is non-industrial, private forestland owned by individuals or families.

In 2013, 73,054 million cubic feet (2,068.7 million cubic meters) of wood was harvested in Vermont. A large amount of Vermont forest products are exports with 21,504 million feet (6.554×109 meters) being shipped overseas plus an additional 16,384 million cubic feet (463.9 million cubic meters) to Canada. Most of it was processed within the state. In this century the manufacture of wood products has fallen by almost half. The annual net growth has been estimated at 172,810 million cubic feet (4,893 million cubic meters). The USDA estimates that 8,584 billion cubic feet (243.1 billion cubic meters) remain in the state. Forest products also add to carbon sequestration since lumber and timber used in houses and furniture hold carbon for long periods of time while the trees that were removed are replaced overtime with new growing stock.

Manufacturing

As of 2015, GlobalFoundries was the largest private employer in the state and provides jobs to 3,000 employees at its plant in the village of Essex Junction within Chittenden County. A 2010 University of Connecticut study reported that Vermont, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire tied as the most costly states in the U.S. for manufacturers.

Energy

Vermont has no fossil-fuel reserves, however its forest products industry provides fuel for electricity generation and home heating. Electricity consumption per capita ranks it among the lowest 20% of states, and total electricity consumption was the lowest in the United States. Vermont consumed three times more electricity than it generated in-state in 2019, and imported its largest share of electricity from Canada. Vermont’s 99.9% share of in-state electricity generation from renewable sources was the highest among all 50 states.

Recreation

Entertainment and Tourism

Some of the largest ski areas in New England are located in Vermont. Skiers and snowboarders visit Burke Mountain Ski Area, Bolton Valley, Smugglers' Notch, Killington Ski Resort, Mad River Glen, Stowe Mountain Resort, Cochrans Ski Area, Sugarbush, Stratton, Jay Peak, Okemo, Suicide Six, Mount Snow, Bromley, and Magic Mountain Ski Area. Summer visitors tour resort towns like Stowe, Manchester, Quechee, Wilmington and Woodstock. The effects of global warming have been predicted to shorten the length of the ski season across Vermont, which would continue the contraction and consolidation of the ski industry in Vermont and threaten individual ski businesses and communities that rely on ski tourism.

Sports

The Las Vegas Valley is home to the Vegas Golden Knights of the National Hockey League who began to play in the 2017–18 NHL season at T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada, the Las Vegas Raiders of the National Football League who began play at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas in 2020 after moving from Oakland, California, and the Las Vegas Aces of the WNBA who began playing in 2018 at Mandalay Bay Events Center after relocating from San Antonio.

Nevada takes pride in college sports, most notably its college football. College teams in the state include the Nevada Wolf Pack (representing the University of Nevada, Reno) and the UNLV Rebels (representing the University of Nevada, Las Vegas), both in the Mountain West Conference (MW).

Education

This section needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (April 2022) Vermont was named the nation’s smartest state in 2005 and 2006. In 2006, there was a gap between state testing standards and national, which is biased in favor of the state standards by 30%, on average. This puts Vermont 11th-best in the nation. Most states have a higher bias. 

However, when allowance for race is considered, a 2007 U.S. Government list of test scores shows Vermont white fourth graders performed 25th in the nation for reading (229) and 26th for math (247). White eighth graders scored 18th for math (292) and 12th for reading (273). The first three scores were not considered statistically different from average. White eighth graders scored significantly above average in reading. Statistics for black students were not reliable because of their small representation in the testing.

In 2017, spending $1.6 billion on education for 76,000 public school children, represents more than $21,000 per student.

Education

Vermont’s main mode of travel is by automobile. 5.7% of Vermont households did not own a car in 2008. In 2012, there were 605,000 motor vehicles registered, nearly one car for every person in the state. This is similar to average car ownership nationwide. About half the carbon emissions in the state resulted from vehicles.

In 2007, Vermont was ranked the third safest state for highway fatalities. One third of these fatal crashes involved a drunken driver. On average, 20–25 people die each year from drunk driving incidents, and 70–80 people are in fatal car crashes in the state. In northern Vermont particularly, moose are not uncommon, including in urban areas. They constitute a traffic threat since they are unaware of vehicles. There are several deaths each year from automobiles striking moose. In 2009, 93% of Vermont motorists were insured, tying the state with Pennsylvania for the highest percentage. In 2008, Vermont was the fifth best state for fewest uninsured motorists—6%.

There are five distinct physiographic regions of Vermont. Categorized by geological and physical attributes, they are the Northeastern Highlands, the Green Mountains, the Taconic Mountains, the Champlain Lowlands, and the Vermont Piedmont. About 500 million years ago, Vermont was part of Laurentia and located in the tropics. The central and southern Green Mountain range include the oldest rocks in Vermont, formed about one billion years ago during the first mountain building period (or orogeny). 

Subsequently, about 400 million years ago, the second mountain building period created Green Mountain peaks that were 15,000–20,000 feet (4,600–6,100 m) tall, three to four times their current height and comparable to the Himalayas. The geological pressures that created those peaks remain evident as the Champlain Thrust, running north–south to the west of the mountains (now the eastern shore of Lake Champlain). It is an example of geological fault thrusting where bedrock is pushed over the newer rock formation.

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