Rural areas experienced renewed population growth following the COVID-19 pandemic

U.S. population change in metro and nonmetro areas, 1978–2022

For the second year following the COVID-19 pandemic, population increased in nonmetro areas, growing 0.12 percent from mid-2021 to mid-2022. Nonmetro population change had reversed in the previous year, from a 0.09-percent decline in 2019–20 to a 0.14-percent increase in the following 12 months. A turnaround in migration flows between metro and nonmetro counties occurred during the first year and a half of the COVID-19 pandemic, in contrast with the previous decade that saw the first-ever loss in nonmetro population (from 2010–17) when annual population change averaged -0.08 percent per year.

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