Almost Half of U.S. States Lost Rural Population in 2010-2020

Dan Economy, General, USDA-ERS


From 2010-2020, the USDA’s Economic Research Service says 24 states lost population in nonmetropolitan or rural areas. Sixteen of those states lost population overall or showed slow population growth of less than five percent.

Data from the 2020 U.S. Census shows the U.S. population grew by 7.4 percent from 2010-2020, slower than the 9.7 percent growth from the previous decade. The biggest population decline took place in West Virginia at 3.2 percent. West Virginia was also the only state to lose population in metropolitan areas and rural areas.


The highest-population growth during the decade was in Utah, whose population grew over 18 percent. Other states growing by 15 percent or more included Idaho, Texas, North Dakota, and Nevada.

South Dakota and Nebraska each lost between five and ten percent of their population from 2010-2020, as did Oklahoma and Minnesota. Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio each lost as much as five percent of their population.

(From the National Association of Farm Broadcasters)