In the Long Run

Pace and Sources of Nonmetro Population Growth Changing

The pace and components of nonmetro population change have varied widely over the past eight decades. Before the 1970s, nonmetro population declined heavily from outmigration, but these losses were offset by strong natural increase (surplus of births over deaths). Since the dramatic revival of nonmetro growth in the 1970s, nonmetro counties have had a net influx of people in each decade, except for the rural economic crisis years of the 1980s. Natural increase has diminished in each decade since the baby boom years of the 1950s. The current nonmetro population growth rate is modest and for the first time is comprised equally of net inmigration and natural increase.