Geographic patterns of population growth that held sway for decades can be seen on the map for 2004-06. Population loss affected most nonmetro counties in the Great Plains from eastern Montana to west Texas, extending into Corn Belt areas of Iowa, Illinois, and parts of other Midwestern States. Population loss also occurred in areas of relatively high poverty in the southern Coastal Plains from eastern Texas to Virginia, and in Appalachia from eastern Kentucky through upstate New York. Rapid population gains in nonmetro counties proximate to large and medium-sized metro areas reflected long-term suburbanization trends that transformed hundreds of rural areas and small towns. Such nonmetro regions include those proximate to Atlanta in northern Georgia, Raleigh-Durham in central North Carolina, Minneapolis-St. Paul in southern Minnesota, and Denver in central Colorado. Rapid growth was also concentrated in recreation areas with attractive scenery and retirement destinations, such as throughout the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Coast regions, in the Ozarks and southern Appalachia, and along the Gulf of Mexico and southern Atlantic coasts.
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