1. Demographic and economic trends in urban, suburban and rural communities (2023)

Three major demographic forces have transformed the entire US population in recent years: increasing racial and ethnic diversity, increasing immigration, and increasing numbers of older adults. But these trends are playing out differently in rural, urban and suburban communities across the country, affecting some more than others.

Recent population growth in the US has also been uneven. Urban counties have grown at approximately a national rate of 13% since 2000. Small metro areas and suburbs have grown the fastest. Rural counties are lagging behind, and half of them now have fewer residents than they did in 2000.

According to an analysis of census data by the Pew Research Center, the population of US cities and suburbs has grown at least as fast since 2000 as it did in the previous decade. But the overall rural population grew less than in the 1990s, when rising numbers raised hopes for a modest "rural recreation.” As a result, a slightly smaller proportion of Americans now live in rural counties (14% versus 16% in 2000).

More recently, the Census Bureau's 2017 population estimates show a one-year increase in the country's rural population, but not enough to offset earlier declines. An analysis by demographer Kenneth M. Johnson attributed the increase to thisGains in rural communities on the periphery of metropolitan areas, while the most peripheral counties continued to lose population.

What is an urban, suburban or rural county?

This chapter compares three different types of communities in counties across the country, based on a ranking system developed by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The analysis covers 3,130 of the country's 3,142 counties and their equivalents, such as counties and independent cities. To seemethodologyfor more details.

Central urban districts:These 68 counties, for example Miami-Dade County, Milwaukee County and San Diego County, are located in the 53 US metropolitan areas with at least one million inhabitants. They are called major metro area counties in the NCHS classification system, and about three out of ten Americans (31%) live in them. These counties are sometimes referred to simply as "urban counties" or "cities" throughout this report.

Small metropolitan and suburban counties:These 1,093 counties, sometimes referred to as "suburbs" in this report, include those outside the core cities of the larger metropolitan areas, as well as all other metropolitan areas. This group includes large metropolitan, medium metropolitan, and small metropolitan counties in the NCHS classification system. About half of Americans (55%) live in suburban and smaller metropolitan areas, including New Haven County, Connecticut, DeKalb County (near Atlanta) and Boise County, Idaho.

Rural:These 1,969 municipalities are in non-metropolitan areas. Only 14% of Americans live in them. These communities, with an average population of 16,535, include counties or equivalent counties such as Evangeline Parish, Louisiana; Navajo County, Arizona; and Elk County, Pennsylvania.

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The flow of people in and out of different types of US districts affects their size and composition. Since 2000, more people have left rural areas for urban areas, suburban areas or small towns than have left these areas. Since there weren't enough new immigrants to offset this influx, the counties grew as a group only because they had more births than deaths.

Nationwide, non-Hispanic whites make up the majority of the population, but an important demographic shift is taking place: whites are a dwindling portion of the population and are expected to make up less than halfhalf a centuryas other groups grow faster. Whites have become a minority in most urban counties since 2000, while remaining a majority in 90% of suburban and metropolitan counties and 89% of rural counties.

Another key demographic trend, increased immigration in recent decades, has increased the proportion of foreign-borns in the overall US population, increasing the proportion in each county, albeit to varying degrees. immigrants, along with their children and grandchildrenresponsible for most of the population growth in the United Statessince 1965. But immigrants are more concentrated in cities and suburbs than in rural areas. On the other hand, most rural counties now have fewer US-born residents than they did in 2000, which is a key factor in their population decline.

A third major population factor, the aging of the massive baby boomer generation, also has different effects across county types. Rural areas have a higher proportion of adults age 65 and older than urban or suburban counties. But suburban counties saw the biggest increase in seniors since 2000.

The analysis in this chapter is based primarily on Census Bureau data. Current counts for district resources are from combined American Community Survey (ACS) data for 2012-2016, the most recent available. Current figures for natural increase/decrease and migration flows are from population estimates for 2014, the year most comparable to the ACS data, as it is the midpoint of the combined ACS data used in this chapter. To seemethodologyfor more details.

Suburbs are growing faster than rural or urban areas

About 46 million Americans live in the nation's rural counties, 175 million in the suburbs and smaller metropolitan areas, and about 98 million in major urban areas.

Taken together, the population of rural counties has grown by 3% since 2000, less than the 8% growth recorded in the 1990s. The population of urban counties has increased by 13% since 2000, and the population of suburbs and small metropolitan areas has increased by 16%. , growth rates slightly higher than those of the 1990s.2The proportion of US citizens living in rural counties has declined in the 1990s and since 2000, but has increased in suburban counties and remained stable in urban counties in both periods.

Although the overall rural population has increased since 2000, most populations in each county have not. Since the turn of the century, population has declined in 52% of counties: 1,024 from 1969. Among the worst hit counties are those whose economy is based on agriculture, about a fifth of rural counties.

Growth factors vary for cities, suburbs and rural areas.

There are four main reasons for population gains or losses at the county level: births, deaths, new immigrants arriving or leaving foreign countries, and people moving to or from other US counties (including immigrants already living in the US). Census figures show that these factors affect cities, suburbs and rural communities differently.

Urban areas have gained 1.6 million net new immigrants since 2000, with a surplus of immigrants more than making up for the loss of people moving to suburbs or rural areas. As a group, urban counties had 9.8 million more births than deaths, further bolstering their populations.

Suburban counties and small metropolitan areas have grown since the year 2000 due to increases in all factors of demographic change. They attracted 11.7 million new residents by attracting former residents of urban and rural areas of the United States, as well as immigrants from abroad. In addition, they had 12.1 million more births than deaths.

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The situation is different in the districts, where the number of moves has exceeded the number of moves since 2000. As a group, they had a net loss of 380,000 people moving. The loss would have been greater, more than 950,000 people, had it not been partially compensated for by around 600,000 new immigrants. The total population of the municipalities increased only by natural growth, that is, they had 1.2 million more births than deaths.

Loss of rural population is greater in the Midwest

Patterns of birth, death, migration, and immigration vary widely between regions and generally illustrate the long-term trend of Americans favoring the southern and western Sun Belt states over the northeastern or midwestern states. These regional differences persist within each type of municipality.

Among rural counties, most in the Northeast and Midwest have lost population since 2000, while most in the South, and particularly the West, have increased in population. One factor behind the regional difference is that rural counties in the Northeast and Midwest were more likely than other rural areas to have more deaths than births. These counties were also more likely to experience a net loss of immigrants: more people relocated than relocated.

The demographic trends of rural councils are linked to their economic profiles.3The country's 391 agricultural counties as a group:heavily focused on the Great Plains– have declined in total population since 2000, while rural counties with other types of economies have increased in population.

The total population of rural counties with recreation and government-based economies has grown faster than the population of other rural counties since 2000. One of the reasons for the growth of recreation-based counties was that they saw a net gain in new residents coming from other US counties, the only type of rural counties to see an increase in in-migration.Notary's analysisfound that recreation-based rural counties are particularly likely to have a growing number of residents aged 65 and over, while agricultural rural counties are losing residents in this age group.

Among urban areas, the Midwest had the highest proportion of counties experiencing population loss since 2000: 42% of the region's urban counties, including Chicago (Cook County, Illinois), Detroit (Wayne County, Michigan), and Cleveland. (Cuyahoga County, Ohio), population lost.

Among suburban and small metro counties, about a quarter of counties in the Northeast and Midwest have lost population since 2000, a greater proportion than in other regions. Most suburban counties in the Northeast and Midwest experienced a net increase in immigrants, but this was primarily due to immigration. Most had a net loss of residents in either urban or rural US counties during this period.

A key demographic trend that shapes the makeup of the local population, as well as the nation as a whole, is the growing number of older Americans. The baby boom generation, born between 1946 and 1964, turned 65 in 2011 and will turn 65 in 2030.

1. Demographic and economic trends in urban, suburban and rural communities (8)

While the population is aging in all three types of counties, it is aging most rapidly in suburbs and small US metro areas. The population aged 65 and over has grown 39% in suburban counties since 2000, compared to 26% in urban counties and 22% in rural counties.

Across the country and in every county, the elderly population has been growing faster than any other age group since 2000: infants, school-aged children, young adults or middle-aged adults. In rural areas, the under-18 population declined during this period. As a result, in every county, adults age 65 and older represent a greater proportion of the total population today than they did in 2000.

As a group, rural counties are older than suburban and urban counties: 18% of rural residents are age 65 or older, versus 15% in suburban and small town counties and 13% in cities.

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Rural counties also have a lower proportion of young adults than urban or suburban populations.

Urban and suburban counties are becoming racially and ethnically diverse much faster than rural counties.

The nation is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse, but these changes have been more moderate in rural counties than in urban and suburban counties. Since 2000, the white population has declined by 8 percentage points in the suburbs, 7 percentage points in the inner city, and just 3 percentage points in rural counties.

Overall, the US population is still mostly white, but not for urban areas as a whole. Among city dwellers, 44% are white, compared with 68% in suburbs and small towns and 79% in rural counties. Indeed, since 2000, whites have become a minority in most urban areas (53% of which are mostly non-white); only about one in ten suburban (10%) and rural (11%) counties are majority nonwhite.

Although the proportion of non-Hispanic whites has declined, theNumberSince 2000, the number of whites has been growing across the country and in suburban counties as a whole. However, the white population has not grown as rapidly as other groups, resulting in a decline in the percentage of whites in the total population of the United States and suburbs.

In urban counties, the decrease in the percentage of white populations was due to both a decrease in the number of whites and an increase in the size of other, primarily Hispanic, populations.

In rural counties, the white population also declined and other groups also increased, but the impact on the white share of the population was more modest, as whites make up a very large share of rural residents.

The foreign-born population is not evenly distributed across county types; Immigrants are usuallyconcentrated in large cities. In fact, about half live in urban counties, where they make up a larger proportion of the total than in suburban or rural counties.

The proportion of immigrants in the population has increased for the country as a whole and for each county type since 2000. Immigrants have accounted for a greater proportion of overall growth in rural (37%) and urban (38%) counties than in suburban counties ( 26%).

Although rural counties have more US-born residents than in 2000, the majority ofIndividuallyrural counties have fewer US-born residents than they did in 2000. There is a lot of overlap between rural counties with fewer residentsborn in usainhabitants than in 2000 and those with lessno totalresidents than in 2000. In the vast majority of rural counties that lost population (1,011 out of 1,025), the number of US-born residents declined and there were not enough new immigrants to offset the loss.

There are gaps in poverty, education and employment in all types of districts

In addition to the three major demographic changes transforming urban, suburban, and rural counties across the United States -- an aging population, changes in racial and ethnic composition, and the influx of new immigrants -- there are significant differences in other important metrics between type communities. . These relate to the economic well-being of its residents.

Poverty increased faster in the suburbs than in urban or rural counties

Overall, the poverty rate is slightly higher in rural (18%) and urban (17%) counties than in suburban counties (14%). Since 2000, poverty rates have increased in all three district types.

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The number of people living in poverty has also increased in all types of communities, but the number of poor has increased more in suburban counties than in urban or rural counties.

About half of the poor in the United States (49%) live in suburban areas and small metropolitan areas, while 34% live in cities and 17% in rural areas.

However, when looking at the proportion of municipalities where at least one-fifth of the population is poor, a measure known as concentrated poverty, rural areas top the list. About three out of ten counties (31%) have poverty, compared with 19% in cities and 15% in suburbs. The number of districts with concentrated poverty has increased for all three district types since 2000.

A growing proportion of residents in all counties have a college degree

Since 2000, more and more residents age 25 and older have earned college degrees in all types of US communities, although growth since 2000 has not been as strong as in the 1990s.

Today, 35% of city and 31% suburban residents have a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to 19% in rural counties. Rural areas also lag behind urban and suburban areas in terms of the proportion of residents with a college degree.

In urban and suburban counties as a whole, there are more college graduates than residents with a high school diploma and no college education, but there are more high school graduates than college graduates in the general rural population. The proportion of residents without a high school diploma declined in all three district types.

Rural counties have lost working-age workers, while urban and suburban areas are gaining them.

Rural counties also lag behind other types of communities, particularly urban counties, in key indicators of employment among workers of working age ages 25 to 54. For example, 71% of working-age rural residents are employed, compared to 77% in urban and suburban counties.

The number of employed adults in this age group (as well as the total number of working-age residents, whether employed or not) has increased in urban, suburban, and small metropolitan areas since 2000, but has generally declined in rural counties. A smaller proportion of the nation's working-age workforce now lives in rural counties than it did in 2000.

The growth of the working-age population has been particularly pronounced in urban areas. As a result, a greater proportion of the country's working-age workforce resides in urban counties today than it did in 2000.

In the suburbs, which have also seen job gains since 2000, the picture looks a little less rosy when viewed through a different lens: each county's experience. While the number of such workers in suburban counties has increased as a group, most suburban counties (59%) have fewer than in 2000. Among rural counties, 88% have lost working-age workers since 2000. Only 29% of counties urbanites did.

Another measure of economic health (average income per worker) is highest in urban counties and lowest in rural counties. These average incomes are now lower than in 2000 for all district types, reflecting the continuing impact of the 2007-2009 recession, although average incomes in rural areas have declined less. (This latest metric is based on a five-year average centered on 2014, which reflects the previous year's revenue. The 2000 figure reflects 1999 revenue.)


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