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Kentucky’s Rural Counties are Experiencing a Declining Population

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Kentucky’s rural counties, in line with similar areas in other states, are experiencing a declining population.

The research and statistics director for Kentucky’s Office of Employment and Training says the state’s rural population continues to decline.

Ron Crouch says the drop is not just about the loss of coal jobs. “So, it’s beyond coal, I guess what I was trying to say is we’re seeing basically that urbanization going on. It’s happening across the United States as well.”

He says the trend goes beyond looking for work. “Many rural counties, including 51 in Kentucky, now have a higher death number than birth number. That’s because families aren’t having five, six, seven kids anymore. It used to be in rural areas, you had lots of kids because they were extra hands on the farm.”

Crouch says 51 Kentucky counties have a higher number of deaths than births. “We’ve got a new phenomenon going on now where you don’t have the high birth numbers that replace your out migration in our rural areas which has been happening throughout history.”

He says the information comes following the recent release of the 2015 Census Population Estimates.

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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