It is interesting this story follows the article we shared about the "Life Works Here" campaign incentivizing people to relocate to NWA... According to the Rural Profile of Arkansas' 2021 biennial report, small towns and rural areas are continuing to see a steady loss of business, along with the migration of youth and talent to urban areas.
The Rural Profile of Arkansas report has been produced by the University of Arkansas for more than 30 years and aims to provide a greater understanding of the social, demographic and economic conditions in rural and urban regions in the state.
Lead author of the report, Wayne Miller, mentioned that this has been a steady trend for nearly ten years and can be attributed to a lack of jobs, entertainment and amenities in more rural areas. "All rural areas are not going to survive, we have a global economy now... they [rural areas] will have to reinvent themselves to survive - there needs to be good infrastructure, healthcare and education," Miller said.
For example, Benton and Washington County had a net migration population of 44,630 and 21,463. This was significantly more than anywhere else in the state from 2010 to 2019. Additionally, the study found the median age is higher in rural areas. Coincidentally, Benton County (14%) and Washington County (12%) have the lowest percentages for residence 65 or older.
Listen to the full interview on KUAF
or read the full report HERE