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Abstract

Rural areas and small towns tend to have larger proportions of older people than the country as a whole because many young adults have moved away—especially from farming areas—and because many rural locales have attracted urban retirees. The older nonmetro population did not grow as rapidly as the younger population in the 1990s. Its growth was much slower than in the 1980s, and it did not contribute to the overall rebound in nonmetro population growth that was so prominent in the 1990s. The reduction in growth stemmed mostly from smaller numbers of people reaching age 65. There were wide differences in the extent of older population growth by regions and types of counties. As the “baby boomers” begin to reach age 65 late in this decade, the older nonmetro population is once again likely to increase rapidly.

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