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 ...
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.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.