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Rural Population Change in the United States

Rural Population Change in the United States

Rural areas comprise 72 percent of the nation’s land area and 46 million of its people. Rural America includes counties bordering suburbs, remote areas, agricultural regions, and areas that depend on manufacturing or tourism. Today, these areas are changing rapidly.

The Great Recession brought the collapse of the stock market, high foreclosure rates, falling housing prices, rising unemployment, and dramatic shifts in rural population trends. Land-grant university researchers and Extension are working with other universities, USDA’s Economic Research Service, and the U.S. Census Bureau to create a comprehensive picture of rural changes before, during, and after the Great Recession. They are also teaching rural residents, community leaders, government agencies, and non-profits how to access and use population data.

This collaborative multistate effort produced multiple studies that examined housing. Research showed subprime lending was more common in rural than urban areas, with lenders targeting remote areas with high minority populations, population loss, low housing values, and lower education levels. In Minnesota, research findings helped address problems with foreclosure. In Nevada, researchers taught the Reno Housing Authority about benefits and harms of dispersed low-income housing. In addition, the multistate efforts studies showed that higher opioid abuse among rural adolescents is partly due to greater reliance on emergency rooms, where opioids are more often prescribed. 

NIFA supports this research through the Multistate Research Fund.

Read the complete Multistate Research Impacts statement.

Want to read about more impacts like this? Check out Fresh from the Field, a weekly bulletin showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees funded by NIFA.

Farm Bill Priority Areas
Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health;
Agriculture economics and rural communities
U.S. States and Territories
New York,
North Carolina,
Puerto Rico,
South Carolina,
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