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.

Read Time: 1 minute

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

Chicago Commute

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Green bike lane with flexible delineators and textures paint in Hoboken, New Jersey

America’s Best New Bike Lanes

PeopleForBikes highlights some of the most exciting new bike infrastructure projects completed in 2022.

January 31, 2023 - PeopleforBikes

Sharrow bike markings on black asphalt two-lane road with snowy trees

Early Sharrow Booster: ‘I Was Wrong’

The lane marking was meant to raise awareness and instill shared respect among drivers and cyclists. But their inefficiency has led supporters to denounce sharrows, pushing instead for more robust bike infrastructure that truly protects riders.

January 26, 2023 - Streetsblog USA

A tent covered in blue and black tarps sits on a downtown Los Angeles sidewalk with the white ziggurat-topped L.A. City Hall looming in the background

L.A. County Towns Clash Over Homelessness Policies

Local governments often come to different conclusions about how to address homelessness within their respective borders, but varying approaches only exacerbate the problem.

February 3 - Shelterforce Magazine

Rendering of mixed-use development with parks and stormwater retention on former Houston landfill site

A Mixed-Use Vision for Houston Landfill Site

A local nonprofit is urging the city to consider adding mixed-use development to the site, which city officials plan to turn into a stormwater detention facility.

February 3 - Urban Edge

Aerial view of downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin at sunset

Milwaukee County Makes Substantial Progress on Homelessness

In 2022, the county’s point-in-time count of unhoused people reflected just 18 individuals, the lowest in the country.

February 3 - Urban Milwaukee