By Elizabeth Zach, RCAC staff writer

For two years now, the number of people living in rural areas of the country has increased, adding on average 35,000 residents per year.

According to demographer Kenneth M. Johnson at the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy, these gains are reversing the rural population declines in the years between 2011 and 2016. He also notes that the gains are largely in rural counties that lie adjacent to metro areas and that they are the result of more people moving to rural areas as well as more births than deaths occurring.

The United States Census Bureau, which calculated the net gains and losses for both urban and rural counties, says that the West, along with the South, had the fastest growth the past year. In the American West, rural counties in much of Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Washington saw gains in population between 2017 and 2018.

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