The Central Vermont region is comprised of 23 municipalities in Washington and Orange Counties. As its name implies, the region lies at the geographic heart of the State. Accordingly, it embodies many of the most celebrated qualities of Vermont’s culture and landscape, and also serves as its political hub. Many of our Region’s challenges are evident throughout the State; these include a transitioning economy, an aging population, lack of affordable housing options, losses from major flooding events, stressed infrastructure, and increased energy costs and consumption.
How have we grown?
This map displays residential growth patterns within the region using 1999, 2006 and 2013 as benchmarks. Areas of varying residential densities were determined using e-911 points.
In Central Vermont, it was in the valleys where early settlement began – where population, commerce, and infrastructure have historically been concentrated in compact hamlets, villages, and cities. In recent decades however, people, and to a lesser extent, commerce has shifted into the countryside. As a result of this trend, many of Central Vermont’s rural municipalities have doubled their population while our largest cities have not grown at all, and even declined, in some cases.
The reasons for shifting land use and habitation patterns are several; the emergence of commuter lifestyles, a population seeking rural environs, rising housing costs in and near employment centers and second home development among them. The fact that much of the region’s new growth has occurred along transportation corridors is no accident, and is often encouraged by land use regulations.