Rural America, predominantly white, is diversifying
Three-quarters of rural Americans are white, a larger proportion than about six in 10 nationwide, but the rural population is becoming more diverse, a pair of analyzes of census data said. The rural America of the future will be increasingly diverse and not as politically conservative as many think, the Brookings Institution said.
“Unlike mainstream accounts that use ‘rural’ as a synonym for ‘white,’ 24% of rural Americans were people of color in 2020,” said Brooking. “While rural America is even less diverse than the nation as a whole (42.2% people of color), it is also diversifying: the median rural county has seen its population of color increase by 3.5 percentage points. percentage between 2010 and 2020. ”
The rural population was relatively stable from 2010 to 2020, growing by only 164,000, or 0.3%. But the Hispanic rural population has grown by nearly a million people, or 20%, over the past decade. Meanwhile, the number of whites has declined by almost 5% and the rural black population by 6%.
“The overall rural population between 2010 and 2020 would have declined significantly without the growth of its Hispanic population,” said three Housing Assistance Council researchers in the Daily there. Hispanics represent 10.4% of the rural population and blacks 7.4%. People of two or more races make up 4% of the rural population and Native Americans 2%, double the national rate.
There are highly regionalized variations in the concentration of Blacks, Latin Americans and Native Americans, Brookings said. “Rural counties in the south and west are particularly racially and ethnically diverse – with a substantial number of rural areas in these regions predominantly or near-majority people of color.”
More than 85% of rural blacks live in the South, according to the Housing Assistance Center. Large numbers of Native Americans live on or near reservations and trust the lands of the Plains, Southwest, and Alaska. Almost half of rural Hispanics live in four states: Texas, California, New Mexico, and Arizona.
“Regional variation also has political ramifications,” Brookings said. Former President Trump only won three predominantly black rural counties and did not fare well with rural voters working in the hospitality and recreation industry, especially in the West.
“Rural counties with recreation-oriented economies were also more likely to gain population over the past decade, meaning the future of rural America is not only increasingly diverse, but not as conservative as many assume, ”wrote Brookings researchers DW Rowlands and Hanna Love.
Researchers from the Housing Assistance Council said: “Despite the progress made through the civil rights movement, labor struggles and increased self-determination, the experiences and conditions of residents and non-white rural communities are often overlooked given the their relatively small population. ”