"Rural America’s population grew by a scant 0.3 percent during the period and now stands at 46.2 million. Without the increase in foreign-born residents, the rural population growth would have been 0.1 percent, Census estimates show," write Bill Bishop, Roberto Gallardo and Tim Marema. Their analysis, based primarily on American Community Survey data, jibes with a Headwaters Economics report in August that said that minorities, including those who are foreign-born, are driving the growth in rural areas of Western states.
|Daily Yonder map; click on the image to enlarge it. Click here for the interactive version.|
"Counties are not losing population randomly," Ken Johnson, senior demographer for the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire, told the Yonder. "The people who leave rural counties tend to be young adults. So when a county loses those young people, it loses a lot of its potential, too. You’re not just losing those young adults, you’re losing the people who are going to produce the next generation." Continuing rural population decline could hurt local businesses too, he said.