The sandy, arm-shaped peninsula that is Cape Cod may seem to have little in common with Maine’s rocky coast and islands. It’s roughly the size of the Blue Hill Peninsula and Mount Desert Island combined, yet is home to some 215,000 people, and swells to double that in the summer months. But Cape Cod, a recent study found, has some of the same key draws of the Maine coast and islands, and the same challenges.

The Cape Cod Young Professionals group, with the help of the Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy, recently published a survey and study that found the region’s young people are leaving in alarmingly high numbers. Those in the 25 to 44 age range declined by 27 percent in the 2000 to 2010 period.

“The 27 percent decline represents a net loss of nearly 15,000 young adult residents,” the report noted. Like Maine, the 45-year-old to 64-year-old age group is growing; on the Cape, it grew by 20 percent. What does that mean?

“Given the marked changes in the demographic patterns on Cape Cod”¦ residents have cause to be concerned that if these trends continue, the decline of its young working age population could threaten the vitality of the region’s economy and its diverse and dynamic community.”

Sadly, the prospects for an immediate turn-around of the youth out-migration are slim—47 percent of respondents had seriously considered moving off-Cape, and a third was “very likely or somewhat likely” to do so in the future.

Again, like the Maine coast, the Cape’s draw—for both in-migrants and for locals—is its environment. When those who moved to the Cape were asked why, almost 83 percent said, “to enjoy the natural beauty,” and almost 70 percent responded, “to enjoy recreational opportunities.” A little over half said it was “to raise a family here,” which suggests the choice of a low-crime, high-quality life.

It’s a safe bet that similar numbers would be found in Maine.

The causes of the youth exodus were clear, and, given our state’s struggles with the issue, not surprising.

Observers of Maine’s struggles to keep its educated young people here may be surprised at these findings. After all, our young folks often head to the Bay State for higher paying jobs. Not only is there a critical mass of people conducive for economic growth, but the predominance of colleges and tech firms further offer opportunity. The Cape, though, is just far enough away from the Greater Boston hub to make commuting difficult, if not impossible.

The second dagger driving young people off the Cape is the cost of housing.

Financial experts say that those proportions mean “at least half of all the survey respondents are ‘housing cost burdened,’ forced to spend more on housing than is recommended.”

A focus group convened to consider solutions suggested community leaders work to bring more year-round jobs in manufacturing, tech, health care and cloud-based businesses; provide internship opportunities; and provide housing resources for working age and working class adults. Easier said than done, of course.

But on the housing front, one suggestion the group made could be replicated in Maine coastal towns and especially on islands—”a new form of housing including ‘micro’ apartments and small studio and one-bedroom apartments in multi-unit complexes with many shared amenities”¦” It’s more than theoretical; a version of this model is being developed in Boston for the many graduate students there.

Maine has the advantage of relatively cheap land and housing five or so miles inland from coastal towns, particularly in the Midcoast and Downeast regions. But its islands do not.

Keep an eye on Cape Cod. Already, many towns in the outer portion have twice as many seasonal homes as year-round residences. The Cape will never be impoverished, but if it becomes a seasonal retreat for the wealthy, much will be lost. Let’s stay one step ahead of this threat.