By David Swenson / <a href="theconversation.com/most-of-americas-rural-areas-are-doomed-to-decline-115343">The Conversation</a>
Source: Read full article at Truthdig
Since the Great Recession, most of the nation’s rural counties have struggled to recover lost jobs and retain their people. The story is markedly different in the nation’s largest urban communities.
I’m writing from Iowa, where every four years presidential hopefuls swoop in to test how voters might respond to their various ideas for fixing the country’s problems.
But what to do about rural economic and persistent population decline is the one area that has always confounded them all.
The facts are clear and unarguable. Most of the nation’s smaller urban and rural counties are not growing and will not grow.
Let’s start with my analysis of U.S. Commerce Department data.
Metropolitan areas consist of those counties with central cities of at least 50,000, along with the surrounding counties that are economically dependent on them. They make up 36% of all counties. Between 2008, the cusp of the Great Recession, and 2017, they enjoyed nearly 99% of all job and population growth.
What remained of job and population growth was divided among the 21% of counties that are called micropolitans, which have midsized cities with between 10,000 and 50,000…