The decline in the nation’s rural population which was first noted in 2010 has begun to reverse, according to the USDA.
The Economic Research Service at USDA made that announcement in its annual report titled “Rural America at a Glance.” As recently as 2016-2017, the ERS says rural counties added population for the first time this decade due to people moving in as the economy improved. The rural unemployment rate peaked at 10.3 percent in 2010, dropping steadily since then to 4.3 percent in 2017. After peaking in 2013, rural poverty rates across all racial and ethnic groups have also declined since then.
The report also indicates the overall graying of rural America is continuing. Rural areas are attracting retirees and losing new people coming into the workforce. Rural counties are still more attractive to retirees who are looking for scenic or lifestyle amenities.