Rural Counties 'Depopulating' While Urban Areas Grow: Report

Feb 12, 2020

Credit Pixabay.com Mariamichelle

Two-thirds of rural counties in Wisconsin lost population from the years 2010-2018. That finding in a report by Forward Analytics, a research arm of the Wisconsin Counties Association.

Forward Analytics Director Dale Knapp says the pattern of rural counties growing more slowly than urban areas is a long one. Knapp says they looked at more than 1,900 rural counties across the nation...

"The basic trend has been from slow rural growth, both population and economic measures in the '90's and 2000's to decline from 2010-2018 both in Wisconsin and nationally. Two-thirds of rural counties lost population..."

He says the loss of people in rural areas are a type of 'chicken and egg' situation...

"When you see depopulation, you see economic effects, they sort of feed on each other. You also have this millennial generation and the one after it who seem to prefer urban areas much more than their parents did..."

Knapp says one factor in lack of rural development is not having high-speed broadband...

"But we're all connected, businesses are connected. To the extent that you don't have broadband, your much more likely to see population and economic decline..."

Knapp said if there was a silver lining for Wisconsin, among all counties across the nation experiencing population loss, Wisconsin's decline was less severe than other places. He says among four measures of economic performance, rural counties in Wisconsin generally outperformed their counterparts nationally.

We have a link here.