Demography and Destiny: Population Trends in Rural America

By Thomas Halverson

October 5, 2022

For decades, rural America has been losing ground to urban America from a demographic standpoint. That may be changing however. COVID-19 forced a massive transition in the U.S. economy toward remote work, and also exacerbated a number of existing socioeconomic problems in large cities. Today, the combination of those forces has sparked a migration from densely populated metropolitan areas to less populated areas offering lower cost of living and a different quality of life.

At CoBank, we believe this trend is significant and that it has important implications for the future of rural America. Many rural communities around the country will benefit from the shift in demographic patterns caused by the pandemic. At the same time, those benefits will likely be unevenly distributed. Only those areas who present a compelling value proposition and meet certain conditions will be able to capture population and economic growth from individuals leaving cities.

A CoBank report on this topic, derived from presentations at our industry conferences in 2022, addresses the issue of U.S. rural population growth in the context of broader national and global demographic trends.

Read the Report


Disclaimer: The information provided in this report is not intended to be investment, tax, or legal advice and should not be relied upon by recipients for such purposes. The information contained in this report has been compiled from what CoBank regards as reliable sources. However, CoBank does not make any representation or warranty regarding the content, and disclaims any responsibility for the information, materials, third-party opinions, and data included in this report. In no event will CoBank be liable for any decision made or actions taken by any person or persons relying on the information contained in this report.


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