As most of you know, populations are growing in our major urban centers but shrinking in many rural counties. The map in the top left shows migration patterns by county over the 2000s. Net migration increases (more people move there than leave) are in blue and decreases are in red.

This is the pattern you’d expect: Lot’s of growth in the Piedmont megaregion and on the coast. In some of the bigger cities (Atlanta, Jacksonville), there’s faster growth outside the urban core.

Things get more interesting when you split things up by age group. One of the most interesting patterns is what folks 55-74 years old are doing. The next map on the left shows their migration patterns over the 2000s.

Even many rural counties that have negative migration overall are getting a positive influx of older people. Where are they coming from? The Northeast of course. 

What’s interesting here is that the populations of our rural communities aren’t just getting older because young people are leaving but also because more older folks are also moving there.

If you want to explore these data some more, go to the website developed by the Applied Populations Lab at Univ of Wisconsin-Madison.