Nonmetro population change varies across the United States

U.S. nonmetro county population change, 2020–22

The nonmetropolitan population grew approximately a quarter percent from mid-2020 through mid-2022, about half the national rate (0.54 percent) during 2020–22. At the county level, however, there was regional and local variation in population change across nonmetro areas. Population declined in over half of all nonmetro counties. No longer concentrated in the Great Plains and Corn Belt as in previous years, nonmetro counties with population loss during 2020–22 were found in most States, including the eastern half of the country. Population grew at rates at or above the national rate of 0.54 percent in over a third of nonmetro counties, with most growing at or above twice the national rate. Many of these counties were in recreation or retirement destinations, such as in the southern Appalachians and Ozarks, the upper Great Lakes, and throughout the intermountain West. Others are found adjacent to large metro areas, such as Nashville, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Dallas-Ft. Worth. However, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, high-growth nonmetro counties were also found in all States of the Great Plains, reversing historic trends.

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