Skip to comments.Rural US disappearing? Population share hits low
Posted on 07/27/2011 8:23:08 PM PDT by Hunton Peck
WASHINGTON (AP) Rural America now accounts for just 16 percent of the nation's population, the lowest ever.
The latest 2010 census numbers hint at an emerging America where, by midcentury, city boundaries become indistinct and rural areas grow ever less relevant. Many communities could shrink to virtual ghost towns as they shutter businesses and close down schools, demographers say.
More metro areas are booming into sprawling megalopolises. Barring fresh investment that could bring jobs, however, large swaths of the Great Plains and Appalachia, along with parts of Arkansas, Mississippi and north Texas, could face significant population declines.
These places posted some of the biggest losses over the past decade as young adults left and the people who stayed got older, moving past childbearing years.
"This place ain't dead yet, but it's got about half a foot in the grave," said Bob Frees, 61, of Moundsville, W.Va., which now has a population of just over 9,000. "The big-money jobs are all gone. We used to have the big mills and the rolling plants and stuff like that, and you could walk out of high school when you were 16 or 17 and get a $15-an-hour job."
Demographers put it a bit more formally.
"Some of the most isolated rural areas face a major uphill battle, with a broad area of the country emptying out," said Mark Mather, associate vice president of the Population Reference Bureau, a research group in Washington, D.C. "Many rural areas can't attract workers because there aren't any jobs, and businesses won't relocate there because there aren't enough qualified workers. So they are caught in a downward spiral."
Rural towns are scrambling to attract new residents and stave off heavy funding cuts from financially strapped federal and state governments.
(Excerpt) Read more at centurylink.net ...
One factor is surely simply definitional: The Census Bureau keeps redefining metropolitan areas to include more and more rural land. It's not that people are moving out; rather, the ciies are moving in. For example, I live about 120 miles by road, or 90 by crow, from the Twin Cities in Minnesota, but I can almost walk to the boundary of their MSA, which includes great swaths of farmland and undeveloped tracts.
I don’t put much stock in anything that came out of the last census. It was run by corrupt Commie ‘RATS and the results are what the ‘RATS want them to be. Just the ‘RATS having more “Fun With Numbers”. It’s all bull****. Most conservatives didn’t even participate.
The worse it gets the cheaper it’ll be for me to go rural.
“Much of this is probably wishful thinking on the part of urban-centric AP”
Democrat policies have destroyed the small factories that dotted the landscape outside the cities, long gone to China or Mexico.
$3 to $4 gas has made the long commute to the cities unworkable for all but the highest paid execs or Government apparatchiks.
What’s left is either Ag, struggling small biz owners drowning in government regulation, Obamacare, and taxes, local gov employees, and those working for them, or those on assistance.
Hope Yen seems to be wishing away redstate citizens
I would rather we had 17 year olds in minor towns making $15 than Inner city welfare cases
Yep, send the urban trash back to the big city where it belongs, and stay the hell off my property!
Stupid bastards don't know what "No Trespassing" means. Public education 'n all that....
They’ve classified my area as “suburban” now.
How many “suburban” two lane roads get closed down due to a herd of Angus snapping a fence and throwing a cow liberation party?
There are so few people here in “the suburbs” that our little post office is being shut down and our mail is now being delivered from the next nearest town...a “suburb” of about 300 people.
Although, since they do have 2 stop lights now, that town is probably considered “urban”.
Columbus annexes aggressively, but those empty areas usually fill in after a few years. A lot of the deals have to do with water and sewer agreements.
It has been a problem for a long time and won't go away any time soon.
Urbanization is almost irreversible unless/until civilization collapses then population declines turns into fewer cities, economic depression and more self-sufficient communities at a lower standard of living. That is the pattern across continents and millenia.
We had a flood of flatlanders come out this way for a taste of The Good Life.
Then gas went sky high, commuting to DC broke their banks, they couldn’t pay their insane mortgages and they went back to their own paved-over liberal hell.
The few who remain are so far underwater, it’s not even funny.
[well, it is but I’m being polite]
The “chateau” up the pike cost the guy $695,000 smackers to build.
He can’t even sell it now for “just” $250,000.
On the bright side, the ‘crime wave’ we experienced via their punk brats breaking and entering to steal poor hillbilly’s guns has ended.
We actually had strangers wander up our dirt road, intending to “hike” the mountain.
How ~many~ “No Trespassing” signs does a person have to read to get the freaking point?
It got to where my dad put up a locked gate and gave me free rein to “run ‘em off” however I saw fit.
“$3 to $4 gas has made the long commute to the cities unworkable for all but the highest paid execs or Government apparatchiks.” Excellent point. People seem to prefer whistling past the graveyard rather than confront realities which have been with us for decades. And many just have a pathological hatred of cities for various bad reasons.
That's why I use this sign:
Do you dispute any of the conclusions or facts in the article?
Looks like the DC Communists are going to make their Agenda 21 quota for their UN overlords the old fashioned way--cook the books!
I dispute everything.
Call me a contrarian. Sure, wealth gravitates to the citys but so does poverty and restriction.
I would argue that people are fleeing urban centers looking for economic futures too.
There are millions of us that have been displaced in the past 35 years as city’s collapsed.
Whooaaa! I pity the fool!
Yes, it’s part of our master plan. Now stop building McMansions. Oh wait, we took care of that too.
These characters ain't Angus, but maybe they're in league with 'em:
OK, so the city is assimilating us like the blob.
I didn’t read all the way through.
The movement as a whole is towards the city and that is true all over the world. The extreme examples are South America and Mexico City.
What is called poverty in this country is anything but.
Was stationed a few years at the end of 210 at indianhead at the EOD school an saw such in rural MD back in 70’s an late 80’s...
The exodus from inside the DC loop to just that area was crazy. An crime skyrocketed.
I retired to my small Texas town in the panhandle that is doing very well due local farming an ranching as well as lots of industry’s within 30 miles. Population is less than 3000 yet very strong an established. Gas prices have made people stay closer to their homes for shopping an recreation etc in a way.
Small businesses that were Mom an Pop style have flourished.
Rural towns here are stronger an safer for the most part where freight train economics is indicative of the nations ups an downs.
Rural Texas town here is strong an stable....
Stay Safe....hope yer well !
It fits the goals of the globalists. Create economic policies which force people into cities where they are more easily controlled.
Actually poverty in the Great Plains and Appalachia is quite real and quite profound.
Gimme a cabin in the foothills a general store, and neighbors I know.
I would kinda agree. Thirty years ago...guys would occasionally take a 1k mile trip across some section of the US and really see the lay of the land. We would note small towns, gas stations in the middle of nowhere, and enjoy a hand-packed hamburger at some little burger spot. Things are changing and I think we all ought to take a couple of days off and really tour our region. Our images of 1980 are pretty much wiped out, if you asked me.
Poverty in the great plains is a result of the great city’s collapsing.
The plains have infrastructure out the wazoo that has been abandoned.
Railways, canals, interstates, airports...
Poverty in Appalachia is a matter of not being able to move product due to mountain roads.
"Hand Spanked" I think you mean "Hand Spanked"
I was responding to the statement “What is called poverty in this country is anything but.”
Poverty in America is real and doesn’t involve a playstation or only 2 HDTVs.
Poverty in the plains is due to economic policy which encouraged the companies to move elsewhere.
Appalachia is a more complicated issue but little is being done to change it.
I grew up in NE Ohio, W Pa, right next to WV and Ma.
To to the other side Indiana and Ky
Ive seen it all, Unions destroyed some very profitable lands
Actually, if John Kasic can change some tax rates, I think you could see Ohio make a come back.
I’d like to think so. It is a beautiful place.
I’m down here in Texas due to the good corporate environment AND I can live in rural town, but it’s been over 100 deg for 26 days now and it’s tough down here.
I have often thought of moving back.
The land is better and I could do with a bit of snow about now.
August is going to suck.
Know a fellow not far from me who has a sign at the start of his property, “There is nothing up this road worth dieing for”
I can't speak for the Great Plains, but here in Appalachia most rural poverty today is both generational and government sponsored.
Back in the days when the only things that traveled well in Appalachia were preachers and politicians, that was true. Today however, it is more a matter of governmental subsidization.
Down here in Texas, where real estate is still luke-warm overall, rural land is a red hot market. We live in a poor, small county where the price of “small tracts” under 100 acres has just about tripled in the past ten years. In spite of the census definitions of “urban” and “rural” and urban annexation it seems the folks with money are heading to Green Acres and leaving the cities to illegal immigrants, drug dealers, gang bangers and Democrats who want to live in iddy-biddy apartments.
You mean "various bad reasons" like the urban youth (Read that: young black thug gang-banger) that tried mugging me on the corner of Clark & Jackson in downtown Chicago a few weeks ago while I was on my way to work, and instead got his ass kicked for his trouble?
That type of "various bad reason?"
I'm more than happy to live out here "in the boonies" away from the crap that goes on in "urban America" on a daily basis. At least I know my kids are safe walking around unlike the "urban areas."
LOL...I like it
“I could do with a bit of snow about now.”
Pining for Patagonia?
Apparently you are unfamiliar with the history of cities. What you see today is nothing new. Gang warfare is as old as civilization and is a nusiance but nothing worth leaving the cities over. Life in today’s American cities is MUCH better than in the past. If you doubt that read “Gangs of New York”, “The Mudhole of the Prairie (aka Gangs of Chicago)”, “The Barbary Coast” or “The French Quarter” all by Herbert Asbury. Extremely informative and hilarious all at the same time.
Sorry to hear of your troubles. I worked down there for three decades and never encountered any trouble at all or even saw any. My kids walked around our neighborhood without issues and, if you wished, you could take a walk at two a.m. without danger.
Cities are and will always be the economic, cultural and intellectual generators for growing societies for various reasons. Suburbs prosper only to the extent that they surround a healthy, vital city. If they don’t they are moribund at best. Should Chicago die your suburb would be devastated.
I was born and raised in a small south Arkansas town and have lived in Chicago since graduating from high school. Not for one second have I regretted the decision to move to the big city.
“Actually poverty in the Great Plains and Appalachia is quite real and quite profound.”
No doubt about it. That is why the cities grow, people are desperate to make a living.
Some folks are satisfied with that. Not me and I lived the first 18 yrs of my life in a small town (5,000) and I had a fabulously happy childhood. Never in a million years would I go back there would have been nothing for me there except working in the mills. My kids profited by being raised in the big city and their lives reflect the increased opportunities they were given.
A couple of years ago I drove around the West on my way to Seattle for my boy’s wedding and have done so a couple of times. It was rather incredible to see that part of our country.
Of course, the sheer beauty of the landscape was overwhelming but it was also very informative to see the little towns that were being crushed by economic changes and the evidence of personal failures everywhere, homes deserted businesses wiped out.
Most of the time the people just packed up and left so the buildings where still standing rotting in the wind. It triggered some very poignant reflections on the uncertainties of life and the sadness to know that there was a tragic story behind much of it. People unable to cope due to no fault of their own because of macro economic changes. People who busted their butts yet still saw their dreams evaporate.
Apparently you're unfamiliar with the "flash mob" problem in Chicago these last few months; the number of murders, beatings, rapes and muggings each weekend since Spring.
Exactly how do these things make life in the cities much better than in the past?
The flash mobs are not a major problem after the initial flash in the pan. Nor is the murder rate higher than usual. It has actually been decreasing in the years I have lived in Chicago.
“Exactly how do these things make life in the cities much better than in the past?” I never made such a claim. What I said is that this city is not as violent or as crime ridden as in the past.
And I am not speaking just of the Capone era. There have been periods where the saloon keepers, brothel owners and gamblers (all of whom had their own criminals gangs to call upon if necessary) exercised a reign of terror over the whole city and controlled all politics and the police.
There was a time the aldermen on the City Council were called the “Grey Wolves” because they preyed upon the ordinary citizen, the sheep, like their namesake.
At one point in the 1880s the citizens of the North side had to hire special private police to keep the criminals at bay because the assaults, robberies, murders and rapes were so frequent. Whole sections of the city were given over to brothels, row upon row of them, and one could rarely get out of a saloon without being given a Mickey Finn and stripped of everything of value. Judges and police were almost always on the take.
In this City and New York there were areas so controlled by the gangs that police did not go into them except in squads because a battle and assault was certain. In NY in the middle 1800s there was a tradition of riots on New Years Eve when thugs would attack the rich attending balls and parties.
Don’t get the idea I am saying that things cannot be better just because I am stating some truths about the past.
Another truth about the Democrat Party is its continual and ongoing association with these criminal enterprises and street gangs. It was the case in 1880 even more but is still the case today and needs to be dealt with. This is just another reason one cannot vote for any Democrat. In the 1960s the Outfit had its own representative, Frank Annunzio, on the House Banking Committee and Sam Giancana’s brother in law was the chief of staff of another House member.
Unless you're the target of the flash mob. Other than that, gee, they're no problem at all!
Obviously the point is that they are not on going not that the violence is acceptable. Or the media has stopped publicizing them.
No it isn’t “lies” and it has been going on for decades. Rural and small town America have been losing population and declining in population percentage for centuries in fact. Not just in America but all over the world.
It is the cities which are the engines of economic growth and prosperity and that will always be the case. Civilization as a word and concept comes from the word “city”. The percentage of rural population only increases when civilizations collapse. Think the “Dark Age” in Greece or the period after the collapse of the Roman Empire.
Prices of city real estate have been the biggest factors in squeezing people out of the city into suburbs (but not small towns distant from a major city). They are dying on the wine all across Neb, Iowa, Minn, and other western states most specifically.
Small populations are finding it more and more difficult to pay for the high fixed costs of running a town and add federal mandated sewer, and water repairs and things are even tougher.
It is taking fewer and fewer farmers to feed the people (all well documented) so they are driven into urban areas in an attempt to make a living. Plus, farming is becoming more and more capital intensive which further reduces the number of farmers who can raise the capital requirements for modern farming.
These events and processes are well beyond the hopes, dreams, wishes or fears of anyone, Leftist or not.
Not in Mississippi it isn’t. Urban blight causes urban flight... Louisiana is much the same... as is Alabama.
Even in those states the growth is close to bigger cities not in real rural areas. Since you don’t trust the census figures you can’t prove your claim though.