Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rural counties' population grew much more slowly than the rest of the nation from 2000 to 2009

Population growth in rural America has lagged far behind the rest of the country over the last decade, the Daily Yonder's analysis of Census Bureau county estimates shows. "The nation’s total population increased 9.1 percent between 2000 and 2009, a total of 25.5 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau," Roberto Gallardo writes for the Yonder. "The population of the nation’s 2,038 rural counties increased by just 2.9 percent in the decade." Exurban counties increased by 13.1 percent and urban counties increased by 10.1 percent. (Yonder map; click for larger image)

Population change across rural America during the decade was far from uniform. "The rural Midwest largely lost population during the decade. These predominantly agricultural counties may be losing people because agriculture is increasingly mechanized — and other jobs are not there to attract or retain residents," Gallardo writes. "Meanwhile, however, almost every rural county in Washington state gained population. In fact, the entire Mountain West gained residents in the 2000s." In 2000, 17.3 percent of the nation’s population lived in counties classified as rural, but just 16.4 percent lived in such counties by the end of 2009. Rural America reflected the rest of the country by gaining black and Hispanic population while losing white population, but the rural changes were smaller in each category than those elsewhere. (Read more)

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