Black Population Grows at Faster Rate

The nation’s population growth rate is down, and the size of the rural population is in decline. But the African American population has experienced growth in metro American and in most categories of rural counties.

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A message from the Rural Assembly

The most interesting change occurred in rural counties that are adjacent to metropolitan areas. Traditionally, these counties have been growing at a fast clip, as metropolitan areas expand into surrounding countryside.

But the recession and the housing mortgage crisis slowed that growth, so much so that these formerly booming counties lost population from 2010 to 2013. The drop was slight (0.1 percent).

Even here, while the overall population declined, the African American population increased by 0.8 percent.

There was also a decline in overall population in the counties that are the “most rural” – those that are not adjacent to metro areas and don’t have any small cities. (That’s the far right set of columns on the chart.) There, the overall population dropped by 0.7 percent. The African American population also dropped, but at a smaller rate of 0.5 percent.

So what’s causing the African American population to grow at a faster rate than the overall population? The ERS says it’s likely because the black population has a higher fertility rate and a younger average age.

A message from the Rural Assembly

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