Friday, August 14, 2015

If not for Hispanic migration, rural Idaho would have lost population since end of recession

Since the end of the recession, Idaho's rural population has grown less than 1 percent—compared to 6 percent growth in urban areas—and nearly 40 percent of the state's rural residents live in counties that lost population between 2010-2014, according to a report by the McClure Center for Public Policy Research at the University of Idaho. The state's rural population would actually have declined 1 percent from 2010 to 2014 if it weren't for growth in the Hispanic population, which increased by 6 percent in rural areas during that time. By 2013, Hispanics made up 14 percent of the state's rural population.

"Most of the rural counties that are growing are located in south central Idaho where agriculture is strong and has a growing workforce and in selected counties adjacent to growing urban areas," the report states. Since 2010, rural jobs have grown by 2.6 percent, compared to 4.8 percent in urban areas. The wage gap has narrowed, with the average wage in urban areas in 2013 $5,431 more than in rural areas, down from a gap of $6,939 in 2010. Also, the per capita income gap has decreased. In 2007, the per capita income in rural Idaho was $4,329 less than in urban areas. In 2013, the gap was $515.

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