Rural flight

From Faster Than 20

Migration of folks living in rural areas to urban areas, usually driven by a loss of jobs. (For example, the shift from local to mass agriculture.) At some point, rural flight becomes a vicious cycle, because as population decreases, so does revenue, which means loss of services, which leads to further flight. All of this disincentivizes investment, which also leads to more flight. Richard Florida describes those left behind as "stuck," meaning they lack the mobility to move.

  • Between 1994-2010, 759 rural counties in 42 states lost population
  • Between 2010-2015, more than 1,300 rural counties in 46 states lost population[1]

Possible solutions:

  • Relocation, especially of young, educated people, through tax incentives, loan forgiveness

See Also


  1. Tim Henderson. "States try to counter rural flight." Pew Research, August 20, 2015.