In the Long Run: Population Trends in Nonmetro America Vary Considerably by Age and County Type

For many decades, most U.S. nonmetro counties experienced significant population loss among young adults, especially in the years immediately following high school graduation. Some of that population loss was offset by net gains among individuals in their late 20s and 30s. That same pattern continues in remote, low-amenity nonmetro counties (identified based on urban accessibility measures and the ERS Natural Amenities Index). A large share of those moving into these areas during their late 20s and 30s are childhood residents returning with spouses and children to their home communities.