Depopulation of rural areas can entail negative externalities. This paper examines, inter alia, the influence of the farming system on depopulation processes. The population change in rural communities in Switzerland (family-based farming system) and in the German Land Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (fordistic farming system) is explained through regression analysis by the proportion of persons occupied in the three economic sectors and by other variables. In Switzerland, a high proportion of locals occupied in farming affects population dynamics positively; in Mecklenburg- Western Pomerania, the situation is exactly opposite. This can serve as an argument to support small and networked farms in rural problem regions.