Rural Communities Growing Faster Than Cities

After a decade of sustained population loss, rural America is bouncing back thanks to shifting demographics and pandemic-induced migration.

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December 7, 2022, 10:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Aerial view of small rural community in Kentucky with ild rolling hills and sparse development

Felix Mizioznikov / Rural community in Kentucky

New research from the University of New Hampshire Carsey School of Public Policy suggests that, thanks in part to the upheavals caused by the Covid 19 pandemic, rural communities in the United States are seeing renewed population growth after a decade of stagnation and population loss. According to Kenneth Johnson, “the rural population gain exceeded that in metropolitan areas, something that is rare in American history.”

As Johnson explains, “Most of the recent nonmetropolitan population increase accrued to high amenity recreational and retirement areas because net migration gains to these counties accelerated early in the pandemic. Elsewhere in rural America, many areas continued to lose population, but a sizable number of counties had population increases because modest migration gains offset deaths from COVID-19.” Johnson notes that this growth could slow down as the effects of the pandemic recede, but trends in remote work and migration suggest that some of these changes may stick around.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022 in Carsey School of Public Policy

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