Rural communities are facing population declines, slow employment growth and higher poverty rates than urban areas, according to a new report from USDA's Economic Research Service. Personal income has declined in recent years in part because farm and mining income has dropped, the research found.
When comparing urban and rural areas, from 2010 to 2018, metro counties saw a seven percent increase in rates of population change in contrast to a nearly two percent decrease in completely rural, non-adjacent counties. The highest rates of population loss were in isolated, completely rural areas.
Since the Great Recession, employment has grown more rapidly in metro than non-metro areas. Labor force participation rates have been slower to recover in rural areas, which can be explained by the tendency of rural regions to have older residents who are more likely to be retired, lower levels of education and higher rates of disability.
USDA's research also notes that poverty rates have been declining across all communities nationwide since 2013, but rates are highest in the most rural and isolated areas. In 2017, personal income per person was nearly $54,000 in metro areas but less than $40,000 in non-metro areas — and the gap in income between metro and non-metro areas has widened since 2010. ...
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