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Hardly Anyone Lives in Rural America. Slightly More Are Leaving.

Written by Gary North on June 5, 2013

The London Financial Times ran a story on the decline in rural population. It promoted the story as if it were relevant. It isn’t.

There was an increase of 134,000 people in rural areas last year. But 179,000 moved out. We are talking fewer than 50,000 people in a nation of 310,000,000. In short, marginal.

About 15% of the population lives on 72% of the land. This has not changed in a generation. The shift began about 200 years ago.

Young people prefer urban life. “How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm, after they’ve seen Paree?” a World War I song asked. You aren’t. They didn’t.

There a lot of rural counties out there which are ripe for a systematic take-over by conservatives. But no one really cares.

It is possible they enjoy urban entertainment in rural areas. The Web is available by satellite if necessary. But people don’t care. They don’t like rural living. When they can get out, they do.

This story is not important as news. It is important as confirmation. The trend has not changed.

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13 thoughts on “Hardly Anyone Lives in Rural America. Slightly More Are Leaving.

  1. There was a net decrease of 50K, that is not the total population. Millions of people live in rural and semi-rural areas. The net trend may be in-migration to the cities, but many city dwellers want to get out and live in the countryside. I see quite a few new houses being built in rural areas near me, but there are also some older abandoned houses. On balance, my view is that the semi-rural areas are gaining population. Truly remote areas may be losing it.

  2. 40yearladyrancher says:

    Re: “…But people don’t care. They don’t like rural living. When they can get out, they do.”

    The grocery store does not print 3-D food yet. Someone has to be involved in food supply.
    Does anyone recall what happens when other countries’ government operates farming? Read Russia’s history.

    “Real” family farm numbers are shrinking; if the trend continues, you will be left with corporate farms and increasing global imports. It gets harder for families to hold on as taxation, higher prices, bio-fuel fads and corporate “family” farm lobbyists prevail.

    It is not an easy life, but can be a life of a clear conscience, if one is so inclined. Many of us feel that city life is too close to a colony of programmed worker ants to be palatable in any way, shape or form. We enjoy a connectivity to the land and the animals we are entrusted with; that corporate offices a thousand miles away cannot fathom past profit and loss financials.

    We are called the heartland for good reason. Good luck to you all when there are no more of us.

  3. ladyrancher says:

    Re: “…But people don’t care. They don’t like rural living. When they can get out, they do.”

    The grocery store does not magically stock itself. Someone has to be involved in food supply production. Does anyone recall what happens when other countries’ governments operates farming? Read Russia’s history.

    “Real” family farm numbers are shrinking; if the trend continues, you will be left with corporate farms and increasing global imports. It gets harder for families to hold on as regulation, taxation, higher prices, bio-fuel fads and corporate “family” farm lobbyists prevail.

    It is not an easy life, but can be a life of a clear conscience, if one is so inclined. Many of us feel that city life is too close to a colony of programmed worker ants to be palatable in any way, shape or form. We enjoy a connectivity to the land and the animals we are entrusted with; that corporate offices a thousand miles away cannot fathom past profit and loss financials.

    We are called the heartland for good reason. Good luck to you all when there are no more of us.

  4. ladyrancher says:

    Re: “…But people don’t care. They don’t like rural living. When they can get out, they do.”

    The grocery store does not magically stock itself. Someone has to be involved in food supply production. Does anyone recall what happens when other countries’ governments operates farming? Read Russia’s history.
    “Real” family farm numbers are shrinking; if the trend continues, you will be left with corporate farms and increasing global imports. It gets harder for families to hold on as regulation, taxation, higher prices, bio-fuel fads and corporate “family” farm lobbyists prevail.
    It is not an easy life, but can be a life of a clear conscience, if one is so inclined. Many of us feel that city life is too close to a colony of programmed worker ants to be palatable in any way, shape or form. We enjoy a connectivity to the land and the animals we are entrusted with; that corporate offices a thousand miles away cannot fathom past profit and loss financials.
    We are called the heartland for good reason. Good luck to you all when there are no more of us.

  5. ladyrancher says:

    Re: “…But people don’t care. They don’t like rural living. When they can get out, they do.”
    You know, the grocery store does not magically stock itself. Someone has to be involved in food supply production. Does anyone recall what happens when other countries’ government operates farming? Read Russia’s history.
    “Real” family farm numbers are shrinking; if the trend continues, you will be left with corporate farms and increasing global imports. It gets harder for real farm families to hold on as regulation, taxation, higher prices, bio-fuel fads and corporate “family” farm lobbyists prevail.
    It is not an easy life, but can be a life of a clear conscience, if one is so inclined. Many of us feel that city life is too close to a colony of programmed worker ants to be palatable in any way, shape or form. We enjoy a connectivity to the land and the animals we are entrusted with; that corporate offices a thousand miles away cannot fathom past profit and loss financials.
    Our freedom to choose where we live is priceless. Our differences can make our country stronger. We are called the heartland for good reason. Good luck to you all when there are no more of us.

  6. Ladyrancher says:

    Sorry about the dual posts… Your mobile site indicated they weren’t posting. In fact, they didn’t show at all until I switched to the desktop version.

  7. A Murricun says:

    It is true that food production provides fewer jobs than 100, 200 years ago, due to mechanization and management consolidation as in corporate farms. And as ladyrancher says, “It’s a great life if you don’t weaken!”

  8. Owen K. says:

    I live in a rural area and it is absolutely great. When there is unrest in the cities, and decay in the rust belt, there is prosperity here, due to the increase in farm income. That increase is due to the increase in commodity prices. We do not have pollution, striking city employees, gang bangers, brownouts, etc. etc. And, I can continue to work my online trading. Yes, we actually do have internet and satellite dishes here in the "sticks." We actually learned to read and write, and no one I know plays a banjo. Amazing isn't it?

  9. Bob in Florida says:

    'Population' in rural areas is not the important factor. I don't have the statistics to support it, but my feeling is that most of those 134,000 people moving to rural areas did not move there to begin farming. While many of the 179,000 moving out probably left farms, or at least farm-related activities. So the net result is still a loss of 179,000 people in agricultural-related production.

    While much of the increase in agricultural productivity is due to the huge, conglomerate-owned farms, and this does help to feed the nation and world population, it is not the type of agriculture that supports the hard-working, rural population of conservative, god-fearing people that made this country great and strong.

    That is the loss we have felt the most over the past 100+ years – the loss of the strong, self-reliant, hard-working people that were the backbone of this country. I fear for our ability to ever get that spirit back. It is born of the upbringing that goes with that lifestyle.

    God help us to find a way to restore that spirit!

  10. So delete them already ! ! ! 🙂

  11. Very well said and I'm convinced you are correct. This scenario is the story of my life. It would not have happened if I knew what I know now. It was what everyone had always done when the next jog in farming economics unfolds, go to the city and get a job. This could be reversed by support in the form of think tanks, study groups and other educational helps for adults needing to rethink their contribution to the community and their own financial success.

  12. ex ghetto nurse says:

    True that. Enough of folks with some means and gratitude to leave the dark sides of 'diversity' are moving. Myself, I've travelled walking and by subway to work for years, so driving a similar amount of time is easy. When thinking of the low class parasites and their activists, apologists and tax men, it is a very good switch. That said, if unrest occurs, food availability and sales will be nearer the producers, and farther away from urbanlocations where thugell and felonisha wait to rip off the unwary. Health care workers are in demand, and even a 3/4 or hour drive is doable, especially in a lower tax state.

  13. Walter Royal says:

    In the rural northeast and particularly in NH small family type farming is one of the few growth industries. This is in large part due to the "Eat Local" movement that has recently seen an upsurge in popularity. Many of these new farmers are former farm kids who have seen the city and been greatly disillusioned by that sight. But a sizeable amount are young folks who want the independence that our current government seems to be trying to seriously discourage. Many have become more libertarian or conservative than liberal and are working to become independent from from big government influence. We "old timers" welcome their enthusiasm and willingness to work hard and willingly help and advise them when they ask for it. All is not as gloomy as some report.