State of Vermont
Flag of Vermont State seal of Vermont
Flag Seal
Nickname(s): The Green Mountain State
Motto(s): Freedom and Unity
Map of the United States with Vermont highlighted
Official language(s) English
Demonym Vermonter
Capital Montpelier
Largest city Burlington
Area  Ranked 45th in the U.S.
 - Total 9,620 sq mi
(24,923 km2)
 - Width 80 miles (130 km)
 - Length 160 miles (260 km)
 - % water 4.1
 - Latitude 42° 44′ N to 45° 1′ N
 - Longitude 71° 28′ W to 73° 26′ W
Population  Ranked 49th in the U.S.
 - Total (2010) 625,741
Density 65.8/sq mi  (25.9/km2)
Ranked 30th in the U.S.
 - Median income  $52,104 (20th)
 - Highest point Mount Mansfield[1][2][3]
4,395 ft (1339.69 m)
 - Mean 1,000 ft  (300 m)
 - Lowest point Lake Champlain[2][3]
95 to 100 ft (29 to 30 m)
Before statehood Vermont Republic
Admission to Union  March 4, 1791 (14th)
Governor Peter Shumlin (D)
Lieutenant Governor Phillip Scott (R)
Legislature General Assembly
 - Upper house Senate
 - Lower house House of Representatives
U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D)
Bernie Sanders (I)
U.S. House delegation Peter Welch (D) (list)
Time zone Eastern: UTC–5/−4
Abbreviations US-VT
Much of the business of local government in Vermont towns takes place each March at a town meeting held at a meetinghouse, such as this one in Marlboro, Vermont.

Vermont Listeni/vər.mɒntˈ/ is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state ranks 43rd in land area, 9,250 square miles (24,000 km2), and 45th in total area. Its population according to the 2010 census, 630,337,[4] is the second smallest in the country, larger only than Wyoming. It is the only New England state not bordering the Atlantic Ocean. Lake Champlain forms half of Vermont's western border, which it shares with the state of New York. The Green Mountains are within the state. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, New Hampshire to the east, New York to the west, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north.

Originally inhabited by two major Native American tribes (the Algonquian-speaking Abenaki and the Iroquois), much of the territory that is now Vermont was claimed by France in the early colonial period. France ceded the territory to the Kingdom of Great Britain after being defeated in 1763 in the Seven Years' War (also called the French and Indian War). For many years, the nearby colonies, especially New Hampshire and New York, disputed control of the area (then called the New Hampshire Grants). Settlers who held land titles granted by these colonies were opposed by the Green Mountain Boys militia, which eventually prevailed in creating an independent state, the Vermont Republic. Founded in 1777, during the Revolutionary War, it lasted for fourteen years. Vermont is one of seventeen U.S. states (along with Texas, Hawaii, the brief California Republic, and each of the original Thirteen Colonies) that each once had a sovereign government. In 1791, Vermont joined the United States as the fourteenth state, the first outside the original Thirteen Colonies. It abolished slavery while independent and upon joining the Union became the first state to have done so.

Vermont is the leading producer of maple syrup in the United States.[5] The state capital is Montpelier, which with 7,855 people is the least-populated state capital in the country.[6] Its most populous city is Burlington, which has a metro population of 211,261 residents.



Vermont is located in the New England region in the eastern United States and comprises 9,614 square miles (24,900 km2), making it the 45th-largest state. 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. Vermont is the smallest landlocked U.S. state.

Map of Vermont, showing cities, roads, and rivers

The west bank of the Connecticut River marks the eastern (New Hampshire) border of the state (the river is part of New Hampshire).[7] Lake Champlain, the major lake in Vermont, is the sixth-largest body of fresh water in the United States and separates Vermont from New York in the northwest portion of the state. From north to south, Vermont is 159 miles (256 km) long. Its greatest width, from east to west, is 89 miles (143 km) at the Canadian border; the narrowest width is 37 miles (60 km) at the Massachusetts line. The width averages 60.5 miles (97.4 km). The state's geographic center is Washington, three miles (5 km) east of Roxbury. There are fifteen US federal border crossings between Vermont and Canada.

The origin of the name "Vermont" is uncertain, but likely comes from the French les Verts Monts, meaning "the Green Mountains".[8] Thomas Young introduced it in 1777.[9] Some authorities say that the mountains were called green because they were more forested than the higher White Mountains of New Hampshire and Adirondacks of New York; others say that the predominance of mica-quartz-chlorite schist, a green-hued metamorphosed shale, is the reason. The Green Mountain range forms 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 the Taconic Mountains; the Granitic Mountains are in the northeast.[10] In the northwest, near Lake Champlain, is the fertile Champlain Valley. In the south of the valley is Lake Bomoseen.

Vermont has 14 counties. Only two—Lamoille and Washington—are entirely surrounded by Vermont territory.

Several mountains have timberlines with delicate year-round alpine ecosystems, including Mount Mansfield, the highest mountain in the state; Killington Peak, the second-highest; Camel's Hump, the state's third-highest; and Mount Abraham, the fifth-highest peak. About 77 percent of the state is covered by forest; the rest is covered in meadow, uplands, lakes, ponds, and swampy wetlands.

Areas in Vermont administered by the National Park Service include the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park (in Woodstock) and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.[11]


Vermont has nine incorporated cities.

Burlington, Vermont's largest city
Montpelier, Vermont's capital city
City populations (2010 census)
City Population
South Burlington
St. Albans

Largest towns

Although these towns are large enough to be considered cities, they are not incorporated as such.

Large town populations (2010 census)
Town Population
St. Johnsbury


A covered bridge, set against the fall foliage, 2009

Vermont has a humid continental climate, with warm, humid summers and cold winters that are colder at higher elevations.[12] It has a Köppen climate classification of Dfb, similar to Minsk, Stockholm, and Fargo.[13]

Vermont is known for its mud season in spring, followed by a generally mild early summer, hot Augusts, a colorful autumn, and its particularly cold winters; the rural northeastern section (dubbed the "Northeast Kingdom") often averages 10 °F (5.56 °C) colder than the southern areas of the state during winter. The annual snowfall averages between 60 inches (152 cm) to 100 inches (254 cm) depending on elevation. The annual mean temperature for the state is 43 °F (6 °C).[14] It is the seventh coldest state in the country.[15]

In the autumn, Vermont's hills display red, orange, and gold foliage displayed on the sugar maple as cold weather approaches. This display of color is not due so much to the presence of a particular variant of the sugar maple; rather, it is caused by a number of soil and climate conditions unique to the area.

The highest recorded temperature was 105 °F (41 °C), at Vernon, on July 4, 1911; the lowest recorded temperature was −50 °F (−46 °C), at Bloomfield, on December 30, 1933; this is the lowest temperature recorded in New England (Big Black River, Maine, also recorded a verified −50 °F (−46 °C) in 2009).[16][17] The agricultural growing season ranges from 120 to 180 days.[18]

The USDA Plant hardiness zones for the state range between zone 3b (no colder than −35 °F (−37 °C) ) in the Northeast Kingdom and northern part of the state, to zone 5b (no colder than −15 °F (−26 °C) ) in the southern part of the state.[19]

The state receives between 2,000 and 2,400 hours of sunshine annually.[20]

Monthly normal and record high and low temperatures
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Rec high °F(°C) 59
Norm high °F(°C) 25
Norm low °F(°C) 4
Rec low °F(°C) −38
Precip in(mm) 0.61
Source: [21]


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.[22]

About 500 million years ago Vermont was part of Laurentia and located in the tropics.[23]

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.

As a result of tectonic formation, Vermont east of the Green Mountains tends to be formed from rocks produced in the Silurian and Devonian periods. Western Vermont mainly from the older Pre-Cambrian and Cambrian material.[24]

Several large deposits within the state contain granite. The Rock of Ages Quarry in Barre is one of the leading exporters of granite in the country. The work of the trained sculptors of this corporation can be seen only 3 miles (4.8 km) down the road at the Hope Cemetery, where gravestones and mausoleums can be seen.

Some buildings in Germany, Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi are constructed almost primarily[clarification needed] of Vermont granite. There are eight different colors of granite including: Barre Gray, Bethel White, Galactic Blue, Salisbury Pink, American Black, Gardenia White, Laurentian Pink, and Stanstead grey.[25][26]

The remains of the Chazy Formation can be observed in Isle La Motte. It was one of the first tropical reefs. It is the site of the limestone Fisk Quarry, which contains a collection of ancient marine fossils such as stromatoporoids. These fossils date back to 200 million years ago.[clarification needed] It is believed that at one point, Vermont was connected to Africa (Pangaea) and the fossils found and the rock formations found on the coasts in both Africa and America are further evidence of the Pangaea theory.[27][28][29]

In the past four centuries, Vermont has experienced a few earthquakes rarely centered under Vermont, the highest being a Richter magnitude scale 6.0 in 1952.[30]

Natural history

Vermont is in the temperate broadleaf and mixed forests biome. Much of the state, in particular the Green Mountains, is covered by the conifers and northern hardwoods of the New England-Acadian forests. The western border with New York and the area around Lake Champlain lies within the Eastern Great Lakes lowland forests. The southwest corner of the state and parts of the Connecticut River are covered by Northeastern coastal forests of mixed oak.[31]

The state contains 41 species of reptiles and amphibians, 89 species of fish, of which 12 are non-native;[32] 193 species of breeding birds, 58 species of mammals, more than 15,000 insect species, and 2,000 higher plant species, plus fungi, algae, and 75 different types of natural communities.[33]

Vermont contains one species of venomous snake, the Eastern timber rattlesnake, which is confined to a few acres in western Rutland County.[34]

By the mid-19th century, wild turkeys were exterminated in the state through overhunting and destruction of habitat. Sixteen were re-introduced in 1969 and had grown to an estimated flock of 45,000 in 2009.[35]

Since 1970, reduction of farmland has resulted in reduced environment for, and reduced numbers of various shrubland birds including the American woodcock, brown thrasher, Eastern towhee, willow flycatcher, golden-winged warbler, blue-winged warbler, field sparrow, and Baltimore oriole.[36]

Invasive wild honeysuckle has been deemed a threat to the state's forests, native species of plants, and wildlife.[37]

DDT destroyed the eggshells of ospreys which resulted in their disappearance from the state. This species began reviving in 1998. As of 2010, they were no longer endangered in the state.[38]

White-nose syndrome killed an estimated two-thirds of all cave-wintering bats in the state from 2008 to 2010.[39]

Many of Vermont's rivers, including the Winooski River, have been subjected to man-made barriers to prevent flooding.


Mount Mansfield, at 4,393 feet (1,339 m), is the highest point in Vermont.


Between 8500 to 7000 BC, at the time of the Champlain Sea, Native Americans inhabited and hunted in Vermont. During the Archaic period, from the 8th millennium BC to 1000 BC, Native Americans migrated year-round. During the Woodland period, from 1000 BC to AD 1600, villages and trade networks were established, and ceramic and bow and arrow technology was developed. In pre-Columbian Vermont. In the western part of the state there lived a small population of Algonquian-speaking tribes, including the Mohican and Abenaki peoples. Sometime between 1500 and 1600, the Iroquois drove many of the smaller native tribes out of Vermont, later using the area as a hunting ground and warring with the remaining Abenaki. The population in 1500 was estimated to be around 10,000 people.


The Old Constitution House at Windsor, where the Constitution of Vermont was adopted on July 8, 1777
A c. 1775 flag used by the Green Mountain Boys.

The first European to see Vermont is thought to have been Jacques Cartier in 1535. On July 30, 1609 French explorer Samuel de Champlain claimed Vermont as part of New France, and erected Fort Lamotte in 1666 which was the first European settlement in Vermont.

In 1638, a "violent" earthquake was felt throughout New England, centered in the St. Lawrence Valley. This was the first seismic event noted in Vermont.[30]

In 1690, a group of Dutch-British settlers from Albany established a settlement and trading post at Chimney Point 8 miles (13 km) west of present-day Addison.

The first permanent British settlement was established in 1724, with the construction of Fort Dummer protecting the nearby settlements of Dummerston and Brattleboro.

From 1731 to 1734, the French constructed Fort St. Frédéric which gave the French control of the New France/Vermont frontier region in the Lake Champlain Valley. With the outbreak of the French and Indian War in 1754, the French began construction of Fort Carillon at present-day Ticonderoga, New York in 1755. The British failed to take Fort St. Frédéric or Fort Carillon between 1755 and 1758. In 1759, a combined force of 12,000 British regular and provincial troops under Sir Jeffery Amherst captured Carillon, after which the French abandoned Fort St. Frédéric. Amherst then constructed Fort Crown Point next to the remains of the Fort St. Frédéric, securing British control over the area.

Following France's loss in the French and Indian War, the 1763 Treaty of Paris gave control of the land to the British. Colonial settlement was limited by the crown to lands east of the Appalachians, and Vermont was divided nearly in half in a jagged line running from Fort William Henry in Lake George diagonally north-eastward to Lake Memphremagog.[citation needed] The end of the war brought new settlers to Vermont. Ultimately, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York all claimed this frontier area.

On March 20, 1764, King George III established the boundary between New Hampshire and New York along the west bank of the Connecticut River, north of Massachusetts, and south of 45 degrees north latitude. When New York refused to recognize land titles known as the New Hampshire Grants (towns created by land grants sold by New Hampshire Governor Benning Wentworth), dissatisfied colonists organized in opposition, which led to the creation of independent Vermont on January 15, 1777.[40][41] In 1770, Ethan Allen, his brothers Ira and Levi, and Seth Warner recruited an informal militia, known as the Green Mountain Boys, to protect the interests of the original New Hampshire settlers against the new migrants from New York.

Independence and statehood

1790 Act of Congress admitting Vermont to the federal union. Statehood began on March 4, 1791.
The gold leaf dome of the neoclassical Vermont State House (Capitol) in Montpelier.

On January 15, 1777, representatives of the New Hampshire Grants declared the independence of Vermont.[42] For the first six months of its existence, it was called The Republic of New Connecticut.[43]

On June 2, 1777, a second convention of 72 delegates met to adopt the name "Vermont." This was on the advice of a friendly Pennsylvanian who wrote to them on how to achieve admission into the newly independent United States as the 14th state.[43] On July 4, the Constitution of Vermont was drafted at the Windsor Tavern; it was adopted by the delegates on July 8. This was among the first written constitutions in North America and was indisputably the first to abolish the institution of slavery, provide for universal adult male suffrage, and require support of public schools. It was in effect from 1777 to 1791.[44] Slavery was banned again by state law on November 25, 1858.[45]

Revolutionary War

The Battle of Bennington, fought on August 16, 1777, was a seminal event in the history of the state of Vermont.

A combined American force, under General Stark's command, attacked the British column at Hoosick, New York, just across the border from Bennington and killed or captured virtually the entire British detachment. General Burgoyne never recovered from this loss and eventually surrendered the remainder of his 6,000-man force at Saratoga, New York, on October 17.

The Battles of Bennington and Saratoga are recognized as the turning point in the Revolutionary War because they were the first major defeat of a British army. The anniversary of the battle is still celebrated in Vermont as a legal holiday.

The Battle of Hubbardton (July 7, 1777) was the only battle in present day Vermont and though the Continental forces were technically defeated, the British forces were damaged to the point that they did not pursue the Americans (retreating from Fort Ticonderoga) any further.

Statehood and the antebellum era

Vermont in 1827

Vermont continued to govern itself as a sovereign entity based in the eastern town of Windsor for fourteen years. The independent state of Vermont issued its own coinage from 1785 to 1788[46] and operated a statewide postal service. Thomas Chittenden was the Governor in 1778–1789 and in 1790–1791. The state was obliged to solve conflicting property ownership disputes with New Yorkers. In 1791, Vermont joined the federal union as the fourteenth state, and the first to enter the Union after the original thirteen colonies.

Vermont had a unicameral legislature until 1836.

The mid-1850s onwards saw a transition from Vermonters mostly favoring slavery's containment, to a far more serious opposition to the institution, producing the Radical Republican and abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens. While the Whig Party shriveled, and the Republican Party emerged, Vermont strongly trended in support of its candidates. In 1860 it voted for President Abraham Lincoln, giving him the largest margin of victory of any state.

The Civil War

During the American Civil War, Vermont sent more than 34,000 men into United States service. Almost 5,200 Vermonters, 15 percent, were killed or mortally wounded in action or died of disease, a higher percentage than any other state.

The northernmost land action of the war, the St. Albans Raid, took place in Vermont.

Postbellum era and beyond

The first election in which women were allowed to vote was on December 18, 1880, when women were granted limited suffrage and were first allowed to vote in town elections, and then in state legislative races.

Large-scale flooding occurred in early November 1927. During this incident, 84 people died including the state's lieutenant-governor.[47]

The 1938 New England hurricane blew down 15,000,000 acres (61,000 km2) of trees, one-third of the total forest at the time in New England. 3 billion board feet were salvaged. Many of the older trees in the state are about 75 years old, dating from after this storm.[48]

Another flood occurred in 1973, causing the death of two people and millions of dollars in property damage.

In 1964, the US Supreme Court decision in Reynolds v. Sims that forced "one-man, one-vote" redistricting on all states required large changes in Vermont, giving cities an equitable share of votes in both houses for the entire country.[49] Until that time, counties had often been represented by area in state senates and were often unsympathetic to possible solutions to urban problems that would increase taxes.[citation needed]

The governor called the 2011 flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene one of the worst in the 20th and 21st century, second only to the flood of 1927.[50]



Historical populations
Census Pop.
1790 85,425
1800 154,465 80.8%
1810 217,895 41.1%
1820 235,981 8.3%
1830 280,652 18.9%
1840 291,948 4.0%
1850 314,120 7.6%
1860 315,098 0.3%
1870 330,551 4.9%
1880 332,286 0.5%
1890 332,422 0%
1900 343,641 3.4%
1910 355,956 3.6%
1920 352,428 −1.0%
1930 359,611 2.0%
1940 359,231 −0.1%
1950 377,747 5.2%
1960 389,881 3.2%
1970 444,330 14.0%
1980 511,456 15.1%
1990 562,758 10.0%
2000 608,827 8.2%
2010 625,741 2.8%

The center of population of Vermont is located in Washington County, in the town of Warren.[51]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2005, Vermont has an estimated population of 623,050, which is an increase of 1,817, or 0.3 percent, from the prior year and an increase of 14,223, or 2.3 percent, since 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 7,148 people (33,606 births minus 26,458 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 7,889 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 4,359 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 3,530 people. As of 2009, 47.8% of Vermont's population was born outside the state, with first and second-generation Vermonters representing a majority of the population.[52]

Vermont is the least populous state in New England. In 2006 it had the second lowest birthrate in the nation, 42/1000 women.[53] The median age of the work force was 42.3, the highest in the nation.

In 2009, 12.6 percent of people over 15 were divorced. This was the fifth highest percentage in the nation.[54]

Race and gender

Demographics of Vermont (csv)
By race White Black AIAN* Asian NHPI*
2000 (total population) 98.12% 0.76% 1.05% 1.09% 0.05%
2000 (Hispanic only) 0.83% 0.06% 0.04% 0.02% 0.01%
2005 (total population) 97.95% 0.89% 0.97% 1.24% 0.04%
2005 (Hispanic only) 1.03% 0.06% 0.04% 0.01% 0.00%
Growth 2000–05 (total population) 2.16% 20.33% -5.49% 16.42% -9.09%
Growth 2000–05 (non-Hispanic only) 1.94% 21.76% -5.13% 17.31% -2.66%
Growth 2000–05 (Hispanic only) 26.76% 2.62% -13.81% -39.42% -46.67%
* AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native; NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
Vermont Population Density Map

Vermont's population is:

Among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Vermont ranks:

  • 2nd highest proportion of non-Hispanic Whites (94.3%)
  • 2nd oldest median age[55]
  • 41st highest proportion of Asians (1.3%)
  • 49th highest proportion of Hispanics (1.5%)
  • 48th highest proportion of Blacks (1.0%)
  • 29th highest proportion of Native Americans (0.4%)
  • 39th highest proportion of people of mixed race (1.7%)
  • 28th highest proportion of males (49.2%)
  • 24th highest proportion of females (50.8%)

The above percentages are from the 2010 Census.

Ethnicity and language

The largest ancestry groups are:[56]

Residents of British ancestry (especially English) live throughout most of Vermont. The northern part of the state maintains a significant percentage of people of French-Canadian ancestry. Some vestiges of a Vermont accent are heard but the population has become more homogenized around American standard English in recent years.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 2.54 percent of the population aged five and older speak French at home, while 1 percent speak Spanish.[57]


Religious identification
Religion 1990[58] 2001[59] 2008[58]
Christian 84% 67% 55%
    Roman Catholic 37% 38% 26%
    Protestant 47% 29% 29%
        Church of Christ
       Methodist 6%
        Episcopal 4%
        Other Christian 4%
        Baptist 3%
        Other Protestant 2%
        Assemblies of God 1%
        Evangelical 1%
        Seventh-day Adventist 1%
        Non-Denominational 1%
Other religions 3% 2% 4%
No religion 13% 22% 34%
Declined to answer 1% 8% 6%

In 2008 over half of Vermont residents identified themselves as Christians. The largest single religious body in the state is the Roman Catholic Church. According to the ARDA in 2000, the Catholic Church had 147,918 members.

Almost one-third of Vermonters were self-identified Protestants. The Congregational United Church of Christ is the largest Protestant denomination (21,597) and Vermont has the largest percentage of this denomination of any state.[60] The number of congregations of the United Church of Christ (149) was larger than the number of Catholic congregations (133).[61]

The second largest Protestant denomination is the United Methodist Church with 19,000 members;[61] followed by Episcopalians, "other" Christians, and Baptists.

Twenty-four percent of Vermonters attended church regularly. This low is matched nationally only by New Hampshire.[62]

In 2008, 34 percent of Vermonters claimed no religion; this is the highest percentage in the nation.[63][64] A survey suggested that people in Vermont and New Hampshire which were polled jointly, were less likely to attend weekly services and are less likely to believe in God (54 percent) than people in the rest of the nation (71 percent). The two states were at the lowest levels among states in religious commitment. About 23 percent of the respondents attended religious service at least once a week (39 percent nationally). Thirty-six percent said religion is very important to them (56 percent nationally).[65]

Joseph Smith, Jr. and Brigham Young—the first two leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—were both born in Vermont. A memorial to Joseph Smith, at his birthplace in Sharon, is maintained by the LDS church and draws about 70,000 visitors annually. As of 2010 the church reports 4,386 members in twelve congregations throughout the state.[66]

Vermont may have the highest concentration of western-convert Buddhists in the country. Several Buddhist retreat centers are located in the state.[67]

2,000 people of Islamic faith are estimated to live in the state.[68]


In 2007, Vermont was ranked by Forbes magazine as 32nd among states in which to do business. It was 30th the previous year.[69] In 2008, an economist said that the state had "a really stagnant economy, which is what we are forecasting for Vermont for the next 30 years." [70] In May 2010, Vermont's 6.2 percent unemployment rate was the fourth lowest in the nation.[71] This rate reflects the second sharpest decline among the 50 states since the prior May.[72]

According to the 2010 U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis report, Vermont's gross state product (GSP) was $26 billion.[73] This places the state 50th among the 50 states. It stood 34th in per capita GSP.[74][75]

Components of GSP were:[76][77]

  • Government – $3,083 million (13.4%)
  • Real Estate, Rental and Leasing – $2,667 million (11.6%)
  • Durable goods manufacturing – $2,210 million (9.6%)
  • Health Care and Social Assistance – $2,170 million (9.4%)
  • Retail trade – $1,934 million (8.4%)
  • Finance and Insurance – $1,369 million (5.9%)
  • Construction – $1,258 million (5.5%)
  • Professional and technical services – $1,276 million (5.5%)
  • Wholesale trade – $1,175 million (5.1%)
  • Accommodations and Food Services – $1,035 million (4.5%)
  • Information – $958 million (4.2%)
  • Non-durable goods manufacturing – $711 million (3.1%)
  • Other Services – $563 million (2.4%)
  • Utilities – $553 million (2.4%)
  • Educational Services – $478 million (2.1%)
  • Transportation and Warehousing – $484 million (2.1%)
  • Administrative and Waste Services – $436 million (1.9%)
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting – $375 million (1.6%)
  • Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation – $194 million (.8%)
  • Mining – $100 million (.4%)
  • Management of Companies – $35 million (.2%)

Canada was Vermont's largest foreign trade partner in 2007. The state's second largest foreign trade partner was Taiwan.[78] The state had $4 billion worth of commerce with Québec.[79]

One measure of economic activity is retail sales. The state had $5.2 billion in 2007.[80] In 2008, 8,631 new businesses were registered in Vermont, a decline of 500 from 2007.[81]

Personal income

The median household income from 2002 to 2004 was $45,692. This was 15th nationally.[82] The median wage in the state in 2008 was $15.31 hourly or $31,845 annually.[83] About 80 percent of the 68,000 Vermonters who qualify for food stamps, actually received them in 2007.[84] 40 percent of seniors 75 years or older live on annual incomes of $21,660 or less.[85]


Agriculture contributes $2.6 billion,[86] about 12 percent, directly and indirectly to the state's economy.[87] However, another study claims that agriculture contributes 2.2 percent of the state's domestic product.[88] In 2000, about 3 percent of the state's working population engaged in agriculture.[89]

Fall foliage seen from Hogback Mountain, Wilmington

Over the past two centuries, logging has fallen off as over-cutting and the exploitation of other forests made Vermont's forest less attractive. 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 percent of the land area of the state is forested. Over 85 percent of that area is non-industrial, private forestland owned by individuals or families.

Dairy farming is the primary source of agricultural income. In the last 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 percent 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; and in 2007 there were 1,087. The number of dairy farms has been diminishing by 10 percent annually.[90]

The number of cattle in Vermont had declined by 40 percent; however, milk production has doubled in the same period due to tripling the production per cow.[91] While milk production rose, Vermont's market share declined. Within a group of states supplying the Boston and New York City markets,[92] Vermont was third in market share, with 10.6 percent; New York has 44.9 percent and Pennsylvania has 32.9 percent.[93] In 2007, dairy farmers received a record $23.60 for 100 pounds (45 kg) of milk. This dropped in 2008 to $17.[94] The average dairy farm produced 1.3 million pounds of milk annually in 2008.[95]

The dairy barn remains an iconic image of Vermont, but the 87 percent decrease in active dairy farms between 1947 and 2003 [96] preservation of the dairy barns has increasingly become dependent upon a commitment to maintaining a legacy rather than basic need in the agricultural economy. The Vermont Barn Census, organized by a collaboration of educational and nonprofit state and local historic preservation programs, has developed educational and administrative systems for recording the number, condition, and features of barns throughout Vermont.[97]

In 2009, there were 543 organic farms. Twenty percent of the dairy farms were organic and 23 percent (128) vegetable farms were organic. Organic farming increased in 2006–07, but leveled off in 2008–09. Nor are any expected for 2010.[98]

A significant amount of milk is shipped into the Boston market. Therefore the Commonwealth of Massachusetts certifies that Vermont farms meet Massachusetts sanitary standards. Without this certification, a farmer may not sell milk for distribution into the bulk market.[99]

An important and growing part of Vermont's economy is the manufacture and sale of artisan foods, fancy foods, and novelty items trading in part upon the Vermont "brand" which the state manages and defends. Examples of these specialty exports include Cabot Cheese, the Vermont Teddy Bear Company, Fine Paints of Europe, Vermont Butter and Cheese Company, several micro breweries, ginseng growers, Burton Snowboards, Lake Champlain Chocolates, King Arthur Flour, and Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream.

There were about 2,000 maple products producers in 2010.[100] In 2001, Vermont produced 275,000 US gallons (1,040,000 L) of maple syrup, about one-quarter of U.S. production. For 2005 that number was 410,000 US gallons (1,600,000 l; 340,000 imp gal) accounting for 37 percent of national production.[101] This rose to 920,000 US gallons (3,500,000 l; 770,000 imp gal) in 2009.[102]

Wine industry in Vermont started in 1985. There are 14 wineries today.[103]

Farms in the state were estimated to have hired 2,000 illegal immigrants as of 2005. Local authorities have ignored the problem, sympathizing with the employers about being able to efficiently run a farm.[104]


Vermont's largest for-profit employer, IBM, in Essex Junction, provides 25 percent of all manufacturing jobs in Vermont, employing 6,800 workers in 2007.[105] It is responsible for $1 billion of the state's annual economy.[106]

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.[107]


An increasingly aging population is expected to improve this industry's position in the state economy. In 2008, Fletcher Allen Health Care was the second largest employer of people in the state.[108]

In 2010, all of Vermont's hospitals billed patients $3.76 billion, and collected $2 billion.[109]


In 2007 Vermont was the 17th highest state in the nation for mortgage affordability. However, in 41 other states, inhabitants contributed within plus or minus 4 percent of Vermont's 18.4 percent of household income to a mortgage.[110]

Housing prices did not rise much during the early 2000s. As a result, the collapse in real estate values was not that precipitous either. While foreclosure rose significantly in 2007, the state stood 50th (last, and best) in ratio of foreclosure filings to households.[111] While housing sales dropped annually from 2004 to 2008, prices continued to rise.[112]

In 2007, Vermont was best in the country for construction of new energy efficient homes as evaluated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under the Energy Star program.[113] However, about 60 percent of Vermont homes were heated with oil in 2008.[114] In August 2008, the cost in Vermont of various heating sources per 1 million BTU ranged from $14.39 for cord wood to $43.50 for kerosene.

While the number of houses sold in the state has dropped from 8,318 in 2004 to 8,120 in 2005, 6,919 in 2006, and 5,820 in 2007, the average price has continued to rise to $202,500 in 2008 ($200,000 in 2007).[115]

In 2009, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment was $920 per month. Rental vacancy was 5.4 percent, the lowest in the nation. 2,800 people were counted as homeless in January 2010, 22 percent more than in 2008.[116]

In 2011, Vermont was fifth among the states with the greatest backlog of foreclosures needing court processing, taking an estimated 18 years. The national average was eight years.[117]


As of 2006, there were 305,000 workers in Vermont. 11 percent of these are unionized.[118][119] Out of a workforce of 299,200 workers, 52,000 were government jobs, federal, state and local. [120]

A modern high unemployment rate of 9 percent was reached in June 1976. A modern low of 2.4 percent was measured in February 2000.[121] As of September 2010, the unemployment rate was 5.8 percent.[122]

Employment grew 7.5 percent from 2000 to 2006. From 1980 to 2000, employment grew by 3.4 percent; nationally it was up 4.6 percent. Real wages were $33,385 in 2006 constant dollars and remained there in 2010; the nation, $36,871.[123]


Captive insurance plays an increasingly large role in Vermont's economy. With this form of alternative insurance, large corporations or industry associations form standalone insurance companies to insure their own risks, thereby substantially reducing their insurance premiums and gaining a significant measure of control over types of risks to be covered. There are also significant tax advantages to be gained from the formation and operation of captive insurance companies. According to the Insurance Information Institute, Vermont in 2009 was the world's third-largest domicile for captive insurance companies, following Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.[124] In 2009, there were 560 such companies.[125] In 2010, the state had 900 such companies.[126]


Stowe Resort Village

Tourism is an important industry to the state. Home to some of the largest ski areas in New England, skiers and snowboarders visit the state's ski resorts in wintertime, including Burke Mountain Ski Area, Bolton Valley, Stowe, Smugglers' Notch, Killington Ski Resort, Mad River Glen, Sugarbush, Stratton, Jay Peak, Okemo, Suicide Six, Mount Snow and Bromley. Summer visitors tour resort towns like Stowe, Manchester, Quechee, Wilmington and Woodstock. Resorts, hotels, restaurants, and shops, designed to attract tourists, employ people year-round. Summer camps contribute to Vermont's tourist economy.

Visitors participate in trout fishing, lake fishing, and ice fishing. Some hike the Long Trail.

In winter, nordic and backcountry skiers visit to travel the length of the state on the Catamount Trail. Several horse shows are annual events. Vermont's state parks, historic sites, museums, golf courses, and new boutique hotels with spas were designed to attract tourists.

According to the 2000 Census, almost 15 percent of all housing units in Vermont were vacant and classified "for seasonal, recreational, or occasional use".[127][clarification needed] This was the second highest percentage nationwide, after Maine. In some Vermont cities, vacation homes owned by wealthy residents of New England and New York City constitute the bulk of all housing stock. According to one estimate, as of 2009, 84 percent of all houses in Ludlow, Vermont, were owned by out-of-state residents.[128] Other notable vacation-home resorts include Manchester and Stowe.

In 2005, visitors made an estimated 13.4 million trips to the state, spending $1.57 billion.[129]

In 2000–01, there were 4,579,719 skier and snowboarder visits to the state. There were 4,125,082 visits in 2009–2010, a rise from recent years.[130]

In 2008, there were 35,000 members of 138 snowmobiling clubs in Vermont. The combined association of clubs maintains 6,000 miles of trail often over private lands. The industry is said to generate "hundreds of millions of dollars worth of business."[131]

Hunting is controlled for black bear, wild turkeys, deer, and moose.[132] There are 5,500 bears in the state. The goal is to keep the numbers between 4,500 and 6,000.[133] In 2010, there were about 141,000 deer in the state, which is in range of government goals. However, these are distributed unevenly and when in excess of 10-15 per square mile, negatively impact timber growth.[134]


The towns of Rutland and Barre are the traditional centers of marble and granite quarrying and carving in the U.S. For many years Vermont was also the headquarters of the smallest union in the U.S., the Stonecutters Association, of about 500 members. The first marble quarry in America was on Mount Aeolus overlooking East Dorset.[135] Up the western side of the state runs the "Marble Valley" joining up with the "Slate Valley" that runs from just inside New York across from Chimney Point until it meets the "Granite Valley" that runs west past Barre, where is located the Rock of Ages quarry, the largest granite quarry in America.

Vermont is the largest producer of slate in the country.[136]

Production of dimension stone is the greatest producer of revenues by quarrying.

Non-profits and volunteerism

There were 2,682 non-profit organizations in Vermont in 2008, with $2.8 billion in revenue.[137] The state ranked ninth in the country for volunteerism for the period 2005–08. 35.6% of the population volunteered during this period. The national average was 26.4%.[138]


Vermont welcome sign in Addison on Route 17 just over the New York border over the now defunct Champlain Bridge

Vermont's main mode of travel is by automobile. 5.7 percent of Vermont households did not own a car in 2008.[139] On average, 20–25 people die each year from drunk driving incidents; as well as 70–80 people in fatal car crashes in the state.[140] Motorists have the highest rate of insurance in the country, 93%, tied with Pennsylvania.[141]

In 2010 Vermont owned 2,840 miles (4,570 km) of highway. This was the third smallest quantity among the 50 states. 2.5 percent of the highways were listed as "congested," the 5th lowest in the country. The highway fatality rate was 1 per 100,000,000 miles (160,000,000 km), tenth lowest in the nation. The highways cost $28,669 per 1 mile (1.6 km) to maintain, the 17th highest in the states. 34.4 percent of its bridges were rated deficient or obsolete, the 8th worst in the nation.[142]

Individual communities and counties have public transit, but their breadth of coverage is frequently limited. Greyhound Lines services a number of small towns. Two Amtrak trains serve Vermont, the Vermonter[143] and the Ethan Allen Express.[144] In 2011, Amtrak evaluated the track used by the Ethan Allen Express between Rutland and Whitehall, as the worst in the nation.[145]

Trucks weighing less than 80,000 pounds (36,000 kg) can use Vermont's interstate highways. The limit for state roads is 99,000 pounds (45,000 kg). This means that vehicles too heavy for the turnpikes can legally only use secondary roads.[146][147]

In 2011, the American Society for Public Administration rated Vermont among the top ten best states for overall litter/debris removals from public spaces/properties (roadways, streams, trails).[148][citation needed]

Major routes

The state has 2,843 miles (4,575 km) of highways under its control.[149]

For a more detailed explanation see a List of Routes in Vermont.

North–south routes

  • I-89.svg Interstate 89 – Runs northwestward from White River Junction to serve both Montpelier and Burlington en route to the Canadian border.
  • I-91.svg Interstate 91 – Runs northward from the Massachusetts border to the Canadian border, connecting Brattleboro, White River Junction, St. Johnsbury, and Newport.
  • I-93.svg Interstate 93 – Has its northern terminus at I-91 in St. Johnsbury and connects the northern part of the state with New Hampshire and points south.
  • US 5.svg U.S. Route 5 – Travels south to north along the eastern border of the state, parallel to I-91 for its entire length in the state.
  • US 7.svg U.S. Route 7 – Runs south to north along the western border of the state connecting Burlington, Middlebury, Rutland, and Bennington. U.S. 7 parallels I-89 from Burlington northward to the Canadian border.
  • Vermont 100.svg Vermont Route 100 – Runs south to north almost directly through the center of the state, providing a route along the full length of the Green Mountains.

East–west routes

  • US 2.svg U.S. Route 2 – Crosses northern Vermont from west to east and connects the population centers of Burlington, Montpelier, and St. Johnsbury.
  • US 4.svg U.S. Route 4 – Crosses south-central Vermont from west to east. It connects with the New York border, in the town of Fair Haven, with the city of Rutland and continues running through Killington and White River Junction.
  • US 302.svg U.S. Route 302 – Travels eastward from Montpelier and Barre, into New Hampshire and Maine.
  • Vermont 9.svg Vermont Route 9 – A route across the southern part of the state that connects Bennington to Brattleboro.
  • Vermont 105.svg Vermont Route 105 – Crosses the northernmost parts of Vermont (sometimes within a few miles of the Canadian border) and connects the cities of St. Albans and Newport.

A 2005–06 study ranked Vermont 37th out of the states for "cost-effective road maintenance", a decline of thirteen places since 2004–05.[150]

Federal data indicates that 16 percent of Vermont's 2,691 bridges had been rated structurally deficient by the state in 2006.[151] In 2007 Vermont had the sixth worst percentage of structurally deficient bridges in the country.[152]


Amtrak station in White River Junction

The state is served by Amtrak's Vermonter and Ethan Allen Express, the New England Central Railroad, the Vermont Railway, and the Green Mountain Railroad.

The Ethan Allen Express serves Rutland and Castleton,[144] while the Vermonter serves Saint Albans, Essex Junction, Waterbury, Montpelier, Randolph, White River Junction, Windsor, Bellows Falls and Brattleboro.[143]

Local community public and private transportation

Greyhound Lines stops at Bellows Falls, Brattleboro, Burlington, Montpelier, and White River Junction. Other transportation includes:[153]

  • Addison County Transit Resources (ACTR) services Addison County, including the college town of Middlebury, Bristol, and Vergennes.
  • Bennington County is serviced by American Red Cross Green Mountain Express (GME) out of Bennington and Yankee Trails (TC) out of Rensselaer, New York.
  • Brattleboro in Windham County is served by the BeeLine (Brattleboro Town Bus). Windham is served, out of West Dover, by the MOOver (Deerfield Valley Transit Association or DVTA).
  • Burlington has Chittenden County Transportation Authority (CCTA) and CATS (University of Vermont Campus Area Transportation System).
  • Colchester in Chittenden County is serviced by the SSTA (Special Services Transportation Agency).
  • Rutland County has the Bus (Marble Valley Regional Transit District, MVRTD) out of Rutland.
  • Windsor County:
    • Ludlow (in Windsor County) is served by the LMTS (Ludlow Municipal Transit System).
    • Windsor is also served by Advanced Transit (AT) out of Wilder.
    • The Connecticut River Transit (CRT) out of Springfield, Vermont, serves parts of Windham County.
    • In parts of Windsor County, including Norwich and Hartford, as well as in White River Junction and in parts of New Hampshire there is a free public transportation service called the Advanced Transit.[154] It has routes and many different lines all throughout the Upper Valley region.
  • Stowe in Lamoille County is serviced by STS (Stowe Trolley System, Village Mountain Shuttle, Morrisville Shuttle).
  • Stagecoach Transportation Services (STS) out of Randolph in Orange County also serves parts of Windsor County.
  • In Washington County, the Green Mountain Transit Authority (GMTA) runs out of the capital city, Montpelier.
  • The Network (Northwest Vermont Public Transit Network, NVPT) running out of Saint Albans services Franklin and Grand Isle counties.
  • Rural Community Transportation (RCT) runs out of Saint Johnsbury and services Caledonia, Essex, Lamoille and Orleans Counties. There is a shuttle bus linking the various local networks.[155]
  • There is ferry service to New York State from Burlington, Charlotte, Grand Isle, and Shoreham. All but the Shoreham ferry are operated by the LCTC (Lake Champlain Transportation Company). Additionally, during the period of replacement of the Champlain Bridge at Chimney Point, VT, the LCTC operates a free, 24 hour ferry from just south of the now-demolished bridge to Crown Point, NY at the expense of the states of New York and Vermont at a cost to the states of about $10 per car.[156][157]


Vermont is served by two commercial airports:


Newspapers of record

Vermont statute [160] requires the Vermont secretary of state to designate newspapers that provide general coverage across the state as the "Newspapers of Record." On June 30, 2010, the secretary of state designated the following newspapers for publishing administrative rule notices during the period of July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011:[161]

Broadcast media

Vermont hosts 93 radio broadcast stations. The top categories are Talk/Information (11), Country (9), and Classic Rock (9). The top two owners of radio broadcast stations were Vermont Public Radio (11 broadcast frequencies + 13 low-power, local translators) [162] and Nassau Broadcasting III, LLC (6 broadcast frequencies + 6 translators based in Lebanon, NH). Other companies had five or fewer stations. The state has fifteen on-line radio stations.[163]

Vermont hosts 10 high-power television broadcast stations, three of which are satellites of a primary station. Represented are the following networks and number of high-power transmitters, ABC (1), CBS (1), Fox (1), NBC (2), PBS (4), and RTV (1). In addition, it has 17 low-power television broadcast stations, which in several cases are satellites of the high-power stations.



2008 peak demand in the state was 1,100 megawatts (MW).[164]

In May 2009, Vermont created the first state-wide renewable energy feed-in law.[165] In 2010, there were about 150 methane digesters in the nation, Vermont led the nation with six online.[166]

While Vermont paid the lowest rates in New England for power in 2007, it is still ranked among the highest eleven states in the nation; that is, about 16 percent higher than the national average.[167]

In 2009, the state had the highest energy rates for energy (including heating) in the US and the worst affordability gap nationwide.[85]

In 2009, the state received 1/3 or 400 MW[164] of its power from Hydro-Québec and 1/3 from Vermont Yankee.[168] In total, the state got half its power from Canada and other states. It received 75 percent of the power it generated in the state from Vermont Yankee.[169]

The state's two largest electric utilities, Green Mountain Power Corporation and Central Vermont Public Service Corporation, together serve 80 percent of Vermont households.[85]

Vermont experts estimate that the state has the capacity to ultimately generate from 134 to 175 megawatts of electricity from hydro power.[170]

In 2006, the total summer generating capacity of Vermont was 1,117 megawatts.[171] In 2005, the inhabitants of the state used an average of 5,883 kilowatt hours of electricity per capita.[172] Another source says that each household consumed 7,100 kilowatt-hours annually in 2008.[173]

Vermont has the highest rate of nuclear-generated power in the nation, 73.7 percent.[174] As one result, Vermont is one of only two states with no coal-fired power plant.[175]

All Vermont utilities get their power from lines run by ISO New England. Each utility pays a share of transmitting power over these lines. Vermont's share is about 4.5 percent.[176]

The state has 78 hydro power dams. They generate 143 megawatts, about 12 percent of the state's total requirement.[164]


  • Broadband coverage as of 2006[177]
    • Total Coverage = 87%
    • Cable TV = 68%
    • DSL = 69%
    • Wireless Internet Service Provider = 24%

(Above percentages are of population, not of land area.)

Generally, cell phone coverage in the state outside of the major metropolitan areas is weak due to interference from mountains. Attempts to serve a small rural population living in a large area renders investment in improvements uneconomical.[178] Unicel, which focused on rural areas and covered much of the state, is now owned by AT&T.[179]

In May 2007, Vermont passed measures intended to make broadband (3 Mbit minimum) together with cellular coverage universally available to all citizens with the intention of having the first e-state in the Union by 2010.[180] In 2010, 130,000 still had "poor" service. The state accepted a $116 million grant from the federal government. Representative Welch said that this would enable the state to advance from among the least connected, to one of the most connected states in the country.[181]

In 2008 Comcast started to extend additional cable TV access throughout the state.[182] In 2007,two-thirds of all Vermonters had access to cable. At the end of this 2008 initiative, 90 percent of Vermonters will have access.

Law and government

The Vermont Supreme Court's building in Montpelier.

Vermont is federally represented in the United States Congress by two senators and one representative.

The state is governed by a constitution which divides governmental duties into legislative, executive and judicial branches: the Vermont General Assembly, the Governor of Vermont and the Vermont Supreme Court. The governorship and the General Assembly serve two-year terms including the governor and 30 senators. There are no term limits for any office. The state capital is in Montpelier.

There are three types of incorporated municipalities in Vermont: towns, cities, and villages. Like most of New England, there is slight provision for autonomous county government. Counties and county seats are merely convenient repositories for various government services such as county and state courts, with several elected officers such as a State's Attorney and Sheriff. All county services are directly funded by the state of Vermont. The next effective governmental level below state government are municipalities. Most of these are towns.[183]


Vermont is the only state in the union not to have a balanced budget requirement and yet Vermont has had a balanced budget every year since 1991.[184] In 2007, Moody's Investors Service gave its top rating of Aaa to the state.[185]

The state uses enterprise funds for operations that are similar to private business enterprises. The Vermont Lottery Commission, the Liquor Control Fund, and the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund, are the largest of the State's enterprise funds.[186]


In 2007, Vermont stood 14th highest out of 50 states and the District of Columbia for state and local taxation, with a per capita load of $3,681. The national average was $3,447.[187] However, CNNMoney ranked Vermont highest in the nation based on the percentage of per capita income. The rankings showed Vermont had a per capita tax load of $5,387, 14.1 percent of the per capita income of $38,306.[188]

Vermont collects personal income tax in a progressive structure of five different income brackets with marginal tax rates ranging from 3.6 percent to 9.5 percent.

In 2008, the top 1 percent of the residents provided 30 percent of the income tax revenue. 2,000 people had sufficient income to be taxed at the highest marginal rate of 9.5 percent.[189]

Vermont's general sales tax rate is 6 percent, which is imposed on sales of tangible personal property, amusement charges, fabrication charges, some public utility charges and some service contracts (some towns and cities impose an additional 1 percent Local Option Tax). There are 46 exemptions from the tax which include medical items, food, manufacturing machinery, equipment and fuel, residential fuel and electricity, clothing, and shoes. A use tax is imposed on the buyer at the same rate as the sales tax. The buyer pays the use tax when the seller fails to collect the sales tax or the items are purchased from a source where no tax is collected. The use tax applies to items taxable under the sales tax.

Vermont does not collect inheritance taxes; however, its estate tax is decoupled from the federal estate tax laws and therefore the state still imposes its own estate tax.

Property taxes

Property taxes are imposed for the support of education and municipal services. Vermont does not assess tax on personal property.[190]

Property taxes are levied by municipalities based on fair market appraisal of real property.[190] Rates vary from .97 percent on homesteaded property in Ferdinand, Essex County, to 2.72 percent on nonresidents' property in Barre City.[191] Statewide, towns average 1.77 percent to 1.82 percent tax rate.

In 2007, Vermont counties were among the highest in the country for property taxes. Chittenden ($3,809 median), Windham ($3,412), Addison ($3,352), and Windsor ($3,327) ranked in the top 100, out of 1,817 counties in the nation with populations greater than 20,000. Twelve of the state's 14 counties stood in the top 20 percent.[192]

To equitably support education, some towns are required by Act 60 to send some of their collected taxes to be redistributed to school districts lacking adequate support.[193]

Median annual property taxes as a percentage of median homeowners income, 5.4%, was rated as the third highest in the nation in 2011.[194][195]


Vermonters have been known for their political independence. Vermont is one of four states (aside from the original Thirteen Colonies) that were once independent nations (the others being Texas, California, and Hawaii). It has sometimes voted contrarian in national elections. Notably, Vermont is the only state to have voted for a presidential candidate from the Anti-Masonic Party, and Vermont was one of only two states to vote against Franklin D. Roosevelt in all four of his presidential campaigns (the other was Maine).

Vermont's history of independent political thought has led to movements for the establishment of the Second Vermont Republic and other plans advocating secession.[196]

National politics

Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
2008 30.45% 98,974 67.46% 219,262
2004 38.80% 121,180 58.94% 184,067
2000 40.70% 119,775 50.62% 149,022
1996 31.09% 80,352 53.35% 137,894
1992 30.42% 88,122 46.11% 133,592
1988 51.10% 124,331 47.58% 115,775
1984 57.9% 135,865 40.8% 95,730
1980 44.4% 94,628 38.4% 81,952
1976 54.3% 102,085 43.1% 81,004
1972 62.9% 117,149 36.6% 68,174
1968 52.8% 85,142 43.5% 70,255
1964 30.4% 54,942 66.3% 108,127
1960 58.7% 98,131 41.4% 69,186
1956 72.2% 110,390 27.8% 42,549
1952 71.5% 109,717 28.2% 43,355

Historically, Vermont was considered one of the most reliably Republican states in the country in terms of national elections. Prior to the 1990s, Vermont had voted Democratic only once, in Lyndon Johnson's landslide victory of 1964 against Barry Goldwater. In the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, Republican presidential candidates frequently won the state with over 70 percent of the vote. Republicans also dominated local Vermont politics from the party's founding in 1854 until the mid-1970s. Prior to the 1960s, rural interests dominated the legislature. As a result, cities, particularly the older sections of Burlington and Winooski, were neglected and fell into decay. People began to move out to newer suburbs.

In the meantime, many people had moved in from out of state.[citation needed] Much of this immigration included the arrival of more liberal political influences of the urban areas of New York and New England in Vermont.[citation needed] In addition, a series of one man, one vote decisions made by the United States Supreme Court in the 1960s required states to redraw their legislative districts to more fairly reflect population. As a result, urban areas in Vermont began to regain some political power.

In 1992, it supported a Democrat for president, the first time the state had done so since 1964, and has voted Democratic in every presidential election since. Vermont gave John Kerry his fourth-largest margin of victory in 2004. He won the state's popular vote by 20 percentage points over incumbent George W. Bush, taking almost 59 percent of the vote. Essex County in the state's northeastern section was the only county to vote for Bush. Vermont is the only state that did not receive a visit from George W. Bush when he was President of the United States. In the 2000 Presidential Elections, Bush was the first Republican in American history to win the White House without carrying Vermont.[197] Vermont gave Barack Obama his third largest winning margin (37 percentage points) winning there 68–31 percent. On the other hand, Republican Governor Douglas won all counties but Windham in the 2006 election.

Today, Vermont is one of only two states represented by a member of the United States Congress who does not currently associate with a political party: Senator Bernie Sanders describes his political views as democratic socialist, but is officially registered as an independent and caucuses with the Democrats in the selection of the Senate leadership.[198]

State politics

After the legislature was redistricted under one-person, one-vote in the 1960s, it passed legislation to accommodate the new arrivals to the state. This legislation was the Land Use and Development Law (Act 250) in 1970. The law, which was the first of its kind in the nation, created nine District Environmental Commissions consisting of private citizens, appointed by the Governor, who must approve land development and subdivision plans that would have a significant impact on the state's environment and many small communities. As a result of Act 250, Vermont was the last state to get a Wal-Mart (there are now four in the state, as of December 2009, but only the Williston store was new construction). Because of the success of Act 250, subsequent attempts to dilute its power, and other development pressures, Vermont has been designated one of America's most "endangered historic places" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.[199]

A recent controversy was over the adoption of civil unions, an institution which grants same-sex couples nearly all the rights and privileges of marriage at the state, but not federal, level. In Baker v. Vermont (1999), the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that, under the Constitution of Vermont, the state must either allow same-sex marriage or provide a separate but equal status for them. The state legislature chose the second option by creating the institution of civil union; the bill was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Howard Dean. In April 2009 the state legislature overrode governor Jim Douglas's veto to allow same-sex marriage, becoming the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage through legislation.[200] In September 2009, Vermont became one of six states in which same-sex couples could marry.[201]

In 2007, the state's House of Representatives rejected a measure which would have legalized assisted suicide for the terminally ill, by a vote of 82–63.[202]

Minor parties and Independents flourish. Rules which eliminate smaller parties from the ballot in most states do not exist in Vermont. As a result, voters often have extensive choices for general elections. This has resulted in the election to Mayor of Burlington and then to U.S. Congressman of Bernie Sanders, then a Socialist, and later, as an Independent, to U.S. Senator.

A political issue has been Act 60, which balances taxation for education funding. This has resulted in the town of Killington trying to secede from Vermont and join New Hampshire due to what the locals say is an unfair tax burden.[203][204]

The Vermont constitution and the courts supports the right of a person to walk (fish and hunt) on any unposted, unfenced land. That is, trespass must be proven by the owner; it is not automatically assumed.[205]

The state is an alcoholic beverage control state. In 2007, through the Vermont Department of Liquor Control, it took in over $14 million from the sale and distribution of liquor.[206]

Public health

In 2010 Vermont was the sixth highest ranked state for Well-Being in a study by Gallup and Healthways.[207] In 2010, the state stood third in physical well-being of children.[208]

In 2010, Vermont was ranked the highest in the country for health outcomes.[209]

In 2008 Vermont was ranked number one in the nation as the healthiest place to live for the seventh time in eight years. Criteria included low teenage birth rate, strong health coverage, the lowest AIDS rate in the country, and 18 other factors.[210] The state scored well in cessation of smoking, obesity, fewer occupational fatalities, prevalence of health insurance, and low infant mortality. A problem area was a high prevalence of binge drinking.[211] While ranking sixth from best for adults in obesity in 2009, the state still had 22.1 percent obese with a rate of 26.7 percent for children 10–17. The ranking for children was ninth best in the nation.[212] In 1993, the obesity rate for adults was 12 percent. Vermonters spend $141 million annually in medical costs related to obesity.[213] The combined figures for overweight and obese adults rose from 40.7% in 1990 to 58.4% in 2010. This is better than most other states.[214]

In 2011, Vermont led the nation in the rate of young people who had consumed alcohol in the past month; one-third of people aged 11 through 20. One-fifth of that group had binged during that time. The state was second for the use of marijuana by young people; 30% of adults 18 to 25 in the past month.[215]

In 2009, Vermont was ranked second in the nation for safety. Crime statistics on violence were used for the criteria.[216] Vermont has some of the least restrictive gun control laws in the country. A permit or license is not required for purchasing firearms. Concealed carry and Open Carry of a firearm is legal over the age of 16 without a permit or parental permission, however, those under 16 may carry with a parents permission.[217][218][219][220][221]

In 2007, Vermont was ranked among the best five states in the country for preventing "premature death" in people under 75 years of age. The rate of survival was twice that of the five lowest performing states.[222]

In 2007, Vermont was ranked the third safest state for highway fatalities.[223] In 2007, a third of fatal crashes involved a drunken driver.[224] In 2008, Vermont was the fifth best state for fewest uninsured motorists – 6 percent.[225]

Parts of the state have been declared federal disaster areas on 28 occasions from 1963 to 2008.[226]

In 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency cited Chittenden and Bennington as counties with 70 parts per billion of smog which is undesirable.[227]

In northern Vermont particularly, moose are not uncommon, including in urban areas.[228] They constitute a traffic threat since they are unaware of vehicles. There are several deaths each year from automobiles striking moose.

In 2008, about 100,000 Vermonters got their health care through the federal government, Medicare, Tri-Care and the Veteran's Administration. An additional 10,000 work for employers who provide insurance under federal law under ERISA. About 20 percent of Vermonters receive health care outside of Vermont. Twenty percent of the care provided within the state is to non-Vermonters.[229] In 2008, the state had an estimated 7.6% with no medical insurance, down from 9.8% in 2005.[230] In 2008, the Vermont Health Access Program for low-income, uninsured adults cost from $7 to $49 per month.[231] A "Catamount Health" premium assistance program was available for Vermonters who do not qualify for other programs. Total monthly premiums ranged from $60 to $393 for an individual. There was a $250 deductible. Insured paid $10 toward each generic prescription. 16.9% of residents 18 to 35 were uninsured, the highest group.[232]

Health care spending increased from $2.3 billion in 2000 to $4.8 billion in 2009.[233] In 2009, adult day care services cost more in Vermont than any other state – $150 daily.[234]

The state started air drops of rabies bait for raccoons in 1997. Known rabies cases in raccoons peaked in 2007 at 165. The program is in cooperation with neighboring states and Canada.[235]


The Lyndon Institute, a high school in Lyndon, Vermont.

Vermont was named the nation's smartest state in 2005 and 2006.[236] In 2006, there was a gap between state testing standards and national which is biased in favor of the state standards by 30 percent, on average. This puts Vermont 11th best in the nation. Most states have a higher bias.[237] However, when allowance for race is considered, a 2007 US Government list of test scores shows Vermont white fourth graders performed 25th in the nation for reading (229), 26th for math (247).[238] White eight 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.

The average effective spending per pupil in Vermont was $11,548 in 2008.[239]

Education Week ranked the state second [240] in high school graduation rates for 2007.[241]

Higher education

The University of Vermont Old Mill, the oldest building of the university

Experimentation at the University of Vermont by George Perkins Marsh, and later the influence of Vermont-born philosopher and educator John Dewey brought about the concepts of electives and learning by doing.

Vermont has five colleges within the Vermont State Colleges system, University of Vermont (UVM), and fourteen other private, degree-granting colleges, including Bennington College, Burlington College, Champlain College, Goddard College, Marlboro College, Middlebury College, Saint Michael's College, the Vermont Law School, and Norwich University.


Notable in the field are Olympic gold medalists Hannah Teter, Ross Powers and Hannah Kearney.

The largest professional franchise is the Vermont Lake Monsters, a single-A minor league baseball affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, based in Burlington. They were named the Vermont Expos prior to 2006.[242] Up until the 2011 season, they were the affiliate of the Washington Nationals (formerly the Montreal Expos).

The Vermont Frost Heaves, the 2007 and 2008 American Basketball Association national champions, were a franchise of the Premier Basketball League, and were based in Barre and Burlington from the fall of 2006 through the winter of 2011.

A semi-professional football team, the Vermont Ice Storm, is[243] based in South Hero.[244] It plays its home games at the Colchester High School stadium. It is a member of the Empire Football League.

Vermont natives in the snowboarding profession include: Kevin Pearce, Ross Powers, Hannah Teter, and Kelly Clark. Others learned snowboarding in the state such as: Louie Vito, and Ellery Hollingsworth.

The Vermont Voltage is a USL Premier Development League soccer club that plays in St. Albans.

Annually since 2002, high school statewide all stars compete against New Hampshire in ten sports during "Twin State" playoffs.[245]


Vermontasaurus sculpture in Post Mills, Vermont.
Photograph taken 7 July 2010

Vermont festivals include the Vermont Maple Festival, Festival on the Green,[246] The Vermont Dairy Festival in Enosburg Falls,[247] the Apple Festival (held each Columbus Day Weekend), the Marlboro Music Festival, the Vermont Mozart Festival, and the Vermont Brewers Festival.[248] The Vermont Symphony Orchestra is supported by the state and performs throughout the area.

Since 1973 the Sage City Symphony, formed by composer Louis Calabro, has performed in the Bennington area. In 1988 a number of Vermont-based composers including Gwyneth Walker formed the Vermont Composers Consortium [249] [250], which was recognized by the governor proclaiming 2011 as The Year of the Composer [251] .

The Brattleboro-based Vermont Theatre Company presents an annual summer Shakespeare festival. Brattleboro also hosts the summertime Strolling of the Heifers parade which celebrates Vermont's unique dairy culture. The annual Green Mountain Film Festival is held in Montpelier.

In the Northeast Kingdom, the Bread and Puppet Theatre holds weekly shows in Glover in a natural outdoor amphitheater.

Vermont's most recent best known musical talent was the group Phish, whose members met while attending school in Vermont and spent much of their early years playing at venues across the state.

The Vermont-based House of LeMay[252] performs several shows a year, hosts the annual "Winter is a Drag Ball,"[253] and performs for fundraisers.

Examples of folk art found in Vermont include the Vermontasaurus in Post Mills, a community in Thetford.

The rate of volunteerism in Vermont was eighth in the nation with 37 percent in 2007. The state stood first in New England.[254]

State symbols

The hermit thrush is Vermont's state bird.

State symbols include:

Notable Vermonters

Vermont is the birthplace of former presidents Calvin Coolidge and Chester A. Arthur.

Notable fictional Vermonters

See also


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Preceded by
Rhode Island
List of U.S. states by date of statehood
Admitted on March 4, 1791 (14th)
Succeeded by

Coordinates: 44°00′N 72°42′W / 44°N 72.7°W / 44; -72.7

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