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Rural Population Grew During the Pandemic, Reversing Trends & Fueling Growth

1 February, 2023

Rural Population Grew During the Pandemic, Reversing Trends & Fueling Growth

Rural America has been slowly declining for years as populations moved to cities searching for better job opportunities and more amenities. Long-time residents and business leaders of small towns feared the shift wasn’t sustainable as people became older and employers left.

Many thought the pandemic would be the final blow, especially to towns that depend on outdoor recreation for revenue, accelerating the trend of people permanently leaving for bigger cities. The fear was that much of rural America would be turned into ghost towns. 

Thankfully, that didn’t happen, as there was a massive explosion of interest in outdoor recreation. But some people weren’t just heading to rural areas to enjoy a weekend in the great outdoors. With the ability to work remotely, many moved to rural locations closer to outdoor recreation hubs. According to an article on KCUR, the U.S. rural population grew more than urban areas between April 2020 and July 2021.

Over a third of rural counties saw their people grow during the same period, reversing over a decade of decline.

Has the pandemic fueled a permanent demographic shift to rural areas?

The story shares a deeper understanding of this recent shift. 

Cynthia TREAD,
Tread Agency

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