Sign up for our newsletter

The always good Legal Ruralism notes the story in the New York Times about the declining population…in cities! Yep, although we associate areas that have more deaths than births as a rural phenomenon, there are plenty of cities suffering the same fate as counties in the Great Plains. Two decades ago, Pittsburgh had 70,000 kids in its school system. Now it’s 30,000 and is shrinking by 1,000 students a year.

“You think of this as a rural or small-city phenomenon,” said Gordon F. De Jong, a sociologist at the University of Pittsburgh. “Here’s a large metropolitan area where it’s happening.” Similar declines can be found in Buffalo and Utica in New York, and Duluth, Minnesota.

So, these regions are older than the nation as a whole. In these cities, 24 percent of the population is older than 65, double the rate for the entire country. Check out the map of those counties with more deaths than births between 2000 and 2007.