These rural areas are already among the most sparsely populated in the U.S. But there is also growth in some rural communities.
"[G]rowth in rural America is the exception. A different story is unfolding in places like Lane County, Kan., a wheat- and corn-growing area in the central-west portion of the state that lost 23% of its population - the 11th greatest population loss in the nation among rural counties.
'We're just a small community and there are no jobs, and they're just moving to find other jobs,' said April Berry, 35, a cook at the Frigid Creme diner in downtown Dighton, the county seat, in a phone interview Tuesday night.
Berry said the loss was palpable in the sleepy downtown, where in the last few years, a jeweler and florist closed up shop. Now, she said, locals have to drive 55 miles to Garden City just to get to flowers or jewels, or even find a Wal-Mart."