|Map by Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire|
About 15 percent of Americans live in rural areas; the percentage has been declining for more than a century. The 35 percent of counties that have experienced long-term, significant population loss now have about 6.2 million residents, a third less than in 1950. Depopulation mostly started with young adults moving to cities or suburbs; the slide in population continued because fewer women of childbearing age were left in rural areas to boost the population. Read the full report here.