Rural America ends first-ever period of population loss
Population change in nonmetro areas reversed in 2020–21, going from a 0.09-percent decline in July 2019 to July 2020 to a 0.25-percent increase in the following 12 months. Renewed nonmetro growth in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic contrasts 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. A turnaround in migration flows between metro and nonmetro counties occurred during the first year and a half of the COVID-19 pandemic, with many people choosing to reside in places with lower population density as COVID-19 infection rates accelerated.
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