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 ...
“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.
I do not need to prove anything at all... and you are correct... I do not trust anything out of the federal government... and with good reason.
My little town HAD struggling small businesses. Luckily we have a Pillsbury food processing plant in the city. If it goes my town is done for good. (Barely holding on now as it is...)
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