|By Bob Weaver|
After 9-11, there was some delusional thinking that urbanites would flee their metropolitan digs and relocate to rural America.
That hasn't happened, nor is there any statistical evidence that it will.
Calhoun's census peaked in 1940 at the end of the agricultural era at 12,455, with Grantsville once having a population of 1,200.
Researchers are predicting the Calhoun County census will continue to drop for the next 35 years.
People in America will continue to cluster around crowded urban and suburban areas to work and live.
Calhoun has plenty of company with projected population decline. Most counties in rural America have a fading population.
Population shift means less resources for local community services.
Furthermore, the low tax base will fade, as consolidation takes over.
CALHOUN POPULATION PROJECTIONS
Rural America now accounts for just 16 percent of the nation's population, the lowest ever.
RURAL CENTERS ARE FADING
The latest 2010 census numbers show an emerging America where rural areas grow ever less relevant.
Many communities could shrink to virtual ghost towns as they shutter businesses and close down schools, demographers say.
We're already seeing that in the many WV counties and towns.
Large swaths of the Great Plains and Appalachia are facing significant population declines with young adults leaving and the people who stayed getting older, moving past childbearing years.
Even the minimum wage jobs have been globalized.
Rural towns and counties are scrambling to attract new residents, maintain a tax base and stave off heavy funding cuts from financially strapped federal and state governments.
In 1910, the population share of rural America was 72 percent, with rural areas holding a majority of Americans until 1950.
Now, 14% of Americans live in rural areas.
Since 2000, metros grew overall by 11 percent with the biggest gains in suburbs or small- or medium-sized cities.
The share of Americans living in suburbs has climbed to an all-time high of 51 percent.
CONSOLIDATION WILL ELIMINATE THE SMALL
The Census Bureau will soon begin to define new "combined statistical areas" — often referred to by demographers as megapolitan areas or megalopolises — based on growth and overlapping commuter traffic.
Demographers believe that rural areas will be swallowed up by consolidation, becoming part of metropolitan areas.
Local government will be gone and low real-estate taxes will be a thing of the past.
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