Central Appalachian coal country took a significant hit in population from July 1, 2014 to July 1, 2015, according to county-level U.S. census figures released on Thursday, John Raby reports for The Associated Press. In West Virginia, nine of the 10 counties with the biggest population losses were in southern coalfields; in Kentucky the top 10 coal producing counties lost 3,060 residents; southwestern Virginia coalfields also saw big drops.
Overall census data showed a familiar trend of decreasing population in rural areas and increasing population in urban ones, reports AP. Overall, 285 of 381 urban counties saw population growth from 2014 to 2015. The same can’t be said for rural areas. In Iowa, 71 of 99 counties lost population, with urban counties or counties near urban centers seeing growth. In North Carolina, 48 of 100 counties saw population declines, Richard Stradling and David Raynor report for the News & Observer. Two-thirds of the state’s growth took place in Charlotte or the Triangle area of Raleigh and Durham.