Rural U.S. shrinks as young flee for the cities

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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.

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Freddie F.    
Oregon  |  June, 12, 2013 at 10:23 AM

Oh, that's OK. These spoiled modern day kids aren't worth a d@mn for pitching dung or pulling weeds on their hands and knees anyway. If we are going to get back to medieval farming in order to save the planet we will need a lot more field hands. I don't want my kids doing that so they should flee to Germany or Canada or somewhere they can make a decent living. We are getting immigration laws all fixed up here in America so we will never have to face the dreadful crisis of crushing rural affluence. It would be a natural disaster if we lost our cherished heritage of cheerful rural underclasses working the land in grinding poverty the way it was meant to be, the way it should be and the way we will force it to be, always. We must get back to basics here in America's heartland before global warming destroys us all.

david hovda    
clara city mn  |  June, 13, 2013 at 10:36 AM

That is a no brainer, when you look at the stupid mess the ag industry had put up with since the 70s and 80s with tthe garenteed price for sugar at double the world price and the dairy industry with the dairy bonanzas of the 80s. witch cost the taxpayers 8 millon dollars and did nt cut production one I-oda. AND bankruped the family farmer cattle feeders paying 18.5 % intrest on the money. we lost all the young family farmers in our township and all the neighbor townships never to return. All the young veta and bussiness people , the surge dealers and now we are paying the price of the stupid leaders of the 80s forever. you will never get the vibrant days back agaiin!!! THIS HAPPENED IN RUSSIA 100 YEARS AGO THE KULOCKS AND THE PEASANTS. and you see what happened there in 1921. If you do not know history it will repeat itself agaiin?!!!! look at the stock exchange today 1.4% of the people own 90% of all the indus the nastac the american stock exchange, and you think that represent the american people . that is little more than a good old boy club of huge so called invesstment firms.!!!

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