As young men and women leave rural communities, the current aging population continues to dwindle and younger generations move to more populated and prosperous locations.
According to the Financial Times, “an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Department of Agriculture found that although population growth in America’s rural heartland has risen and fallen for decades with changes in the U.S. economy, the pace of decline accelerated in years in 2010-12. For the first time in U.S. history, the natural increase in population — total births minus deaths were alarming to offset the catastrophic loss of those migrating away to the larger metropolitans.”
Rural areas have declined for decades as cities thrived, but in certain areas the rural U.S. have seen some growth. In South Dakota, where previously people left the state due to lack of economic opportunity, some are returning because of job opportunities related to the booming oil and gas sector.
That’s not the case elsewhere in the rest of the Midwest and Rust Belt states that are being hit the worst, as the young flock to economic prosperity in other regions.
In contrast to the mass exodus in many rural communities, one demographic that is taking advantage of the low cost of living associated with rural communities is Hispanics.
Losing young people in their 20’s and 30’s has serious ramifications for the rural heartland. Young people are more likely to be the prime candidates for childbearing, and many rural regions are seeing their birthrates decline rapidly.
Many individuals who relocate to rural communities have passed the prime childbearing time in their life, which plays into rural America aging faster than the rest of the nation due to the lack of offspring being brought up in these communities. This fuels negative economic consequences from the quick egress of old rural America.