In this data snapshot, author Kenneth Johnson reports that after a decade of population loss, rural America gained population between 2020 and 2021 because migration gains offset a growing excess of deaths over births due to COVID-19. Between 2010 and 2020, nonmetropolitan (rural) America lost population for the first time in history because more people left rural areas than moved to them and because the excess of births over deaths dwindled. Yet, the latest Census Bureau population estimates document renewed population gains in nonmetropolitan America between April 2020 and July 2021. In fact, the rural population gain exceeded that in metropolitan areas, something that is rare in American history. Whether these nonmetropolitan migration gains will continue in this turbulent era remains to be seen.


Carsey School of Public Policy

Publication Date

Winter 12-6-2022


Data Snapshot


Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



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