Examining rural population loss
Population loss is a longstanding concern in rural areas. A new report from the USDA's Economic Research Service examines why more than a third of nonmetro counties lost at least 10 percent of their population through net outmigration over 1988-2008.
The report is titled "Nonmetropolital Outmigration Counties: Some are Poor, Many are Prosperous." Both types of counties mentioned in the title tend to have less manufacturing than other nonmetro counties, and both are rarely
classified as recreation counties.
The differences? The report summarizes:
"...outmigration counties with high poverty tend to have working-age populations with low rates of high school completion, very high unemployment, low rates of self-employment, and other conditions reflecting socioeconomic hardship. Outmigration counties with less poverty have working-age populations with higher educational attainment than other nonmetro counties and higher employment rates. These counties are disadvantaged by their remoteness and low population density, their lack of forest cover, and lack of public land. Most low-poverty outmigration counties are in the lowest third of all nonmetro
counties in landscape appeal. Thus, although favored by the level of human resources, these counties have difficulties attracting industries or people without long-term ties to the area."