Geography of nonmetro population change is shifting
Opportunities for population growth and economic expansion vary widely from one nonmetro county to another, and new regional patterns of growth and decline have emerged in recent years. Spurred by an energy boom, large sections of the northern Great Plains turned around decades of population decline. Population growth slowed considerably in the Mountain West for the first time in decades, affecting numerous counties in western Colorado and Wyoming, central Oregon, northern Idaho, and elsewhere. At the same time, nonmetro population growth switched to decline in 21 Eastern States between 2004-06 and 2010-12. For example, most metro counties in Florida maintained above-average population growth through the recent housing crisis and recession, but nonmetro areas there went from 3-percent growth during 2004-06 to a -0.44-percent decline in the past 2 years. This map is found in the May 2013 issue of Amber Waves magazine.
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