depopulation

USDA / Rural Blog

The Washington Post recently reported that many rural areas are past their prime and peaked long ago. But new data from the US Department of Agriculture contradicts that narrative. Rural areas, for the first time ever, experienced a decline from 2010 to 2014. But The Rural Blog notes, that trend appears to be slowing and possibly reversing.

Washington Post

The late 19th and early 20th centuries were good times for the High Plains. Back then, much of the rural plains was growing rapidly. But, as The Washington Post reports, much of America’s rural farm country has been depopulating for a very long time. In fact, more than half of the counties in the nation are in population decline. That means their peaks are long behind them.

Greeley County, Kansas Fights Depopulation

Oct 28, 2013
Matt Nager/The Wall Street Journal

In a town and county named in honor of Horacy Greeley, the man credited with saying "Go West, young man," officials fear for the town's survival after three decades of accelerating population decline.

Greeley County, Kansas does not have demographics on its side. Rural areas across the Great Plains tend to experience high death rates as baby boomers age and die, while young people move away.  The county has lost over a third of its population since 1960.