Growing old rural has become new metro and that difference matters

While a rose by any other name will still smell sweet, a community once called rural,  as Daily Yonder points out,  paints a bleak picture of what we’re calling rural areas…

Later this year, some of the nation’s most economically successful “rural” counties will be reclassified as metropolitan, moving their populations and economic output from nonmetropolitan to metropolitan with the stroke of a pen.

That’s because 2023 is the year the federal Office of Management and Budget will create a major revision for its list of Metropolitan Statistical Areas based on data from the 2020 Census.

Because of how Metropolitan Statistical Areas are defined – using a combination of population figures and commuting patterns – the reclassification is likely to move some of the fastest growing and economically productive rural counties into the metropolitan category.

This gives a falsely bleak impression of rural America, according to scholars Daniel T. Lichter and Kenneth M. Johnson. The researchers from Cornell and the University of New Hampshire respectively, call this phenomenon “the paradox of rural population decline.”

This entry was posted in Research, Rural by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s