NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Reversing Trend, Whites Move To Rural Areas

June 6, 2001

For the first time since the 1970s, more non-Hispanic whites are living in rural areas than in the centers of metropolitan areas, according to Census 2000 data released today.

  • The numbers show that 23.4 percent of non-Hispanic whites live outside metro areas, 54.1 percent live in suburbs and 22.6 percent in the cities at the center of metro areas.
  • In 1990, the numbers were 22.8 percent living outside metros, 52.7 percent in suburbs, and 24.6 percent in central cities.
  • More than half of blacks live in central cities, one-third in the suburbs and only 14 percent in rural areas.
  • Among Hispanics, only 9 percent live in rural areas, and the rest are almost evenly split between cities and suburbs.

Since the 1970s, whites had been leaving rural areas for jobs in cities and suburbs. Now more whites are leaving cities and some white suburbanites are moving farther out. They are going to small towns and retirement and resort areas -- often to escape the growing congestion and expense of suburban life.

Political analysts point out that the influx of conservative whites to remote areas helped Republicans increase their hold on many rural counties and small cities.

Source: Haya El Nasser and Paul Overberg, "More Whites Are Moving to Rural Areas," USA Today, June 6, 2001.

For Census Bureau reports


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