Demography and Destiny: Population Trends in Rural America
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.
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