WASHINGTON (AP) — Rural America is losing population for the first time ever, largely because of waning interest among baby boomers in moving to far-flung locations for retirement and recreation.
Long weighed down by dwindling populations in farming and coal communities, rural counties are being hit by fizzled growth in retirement and recreation areas.
Census estimates show that would-be retirees are staying put in urban areas near jobs. Recent weakness in the economy means some boomers have less savings than a decade ago to buy a vacation home in the countryside. Cities are also a potential draw for boomers who may prefer to age closer to accessible health care.
About 46.2 million people, or 15 percent of the U.S., reside in rural counties. From 2011 to 2012, rural growth fell 0.1 percent.