Rural counties with greatest population loss voted most Democratic in 2020

0

In the 2020 presidential election, Democrat Joe Biden won the popular vote in just 10% of rural counties nationwide. There was a certain type of rural county where Biden doubled that win rate. Unfortunately for Democrats, rural counties are losing the most population.

From 2010 to 2020, 244 rural counties lost 10% or more of their population. Biden won the popular vote in 20% of those counties, as opposed to the rest of rural America, where he won about half that rate.

Population loss did not cause these counties to support Biden. Rather, it is the demographics of these counties that are losing population that explains the difference. Rural communities with the greatest population loss had higher percentages of ethnic or racial minorities than the rest of rural America. And these are populations that tend to vote more Democratic.

Rural counties that have lost a large portion of their population also tend to be struggling economically. This in turn leads to more people leaving.

Rural counties that have lost 10% or more of their population are grouped into a few regions: Central Appalachia, the Mississippi Delta, the Texas border region and parts of the Great Plains, and the Black Belt, a crescent that stretches stretches from Virginia to Texas with a large number of black residents.

The Southeastern Black Belt is a region named for its dark soils where plantation agriculture dominated the economy before the Civil War. Due to the impact of slavery, systemic disparities persist in the Black Belt, where the average poverty rate is 23.8%. This is 10 percentage points higher than the national rural average.

Counties with the greatest population loss also had higher percentages of vulnerable people, such as the elderly or living in poverty.

Take Quitman County, Mississippi, for example. Quitman County, located northwest of the Mississippi, is part of the Delta region. It is a farming community where approximately two-thirds of the population voted for Biden in 2020. Quitman County was classified as a persistent poverty county in 2013, meaning the poverty rate exceeded 20 percent for at least three decades. In 2020, 75.9% of the population were ethnic or racial minorities, compared to 23% of the population in the rest of rural America.

Between 2010 and 2020, Quitman County lost 9.3 percent of its population, dropping from 8,223 in 2010 to 6,176 in 2020, according to the census. The average population change in rural counties was 1.89% between 2010 and 2020.

Bamberg County, South Carolina has seen a 16% decline from 2010 to 2020. The population has fallen from 15,987 a decade ago to 13,311 at the last census. Sixty-two percent of voters in 2020 voted for Biden in Bamberg County, which is also in persistent poverty. Sixty-two percent of the population were ethnic or racial minorities in 2020.

Bamberg and Quitman counties were no exception among Black Belt communities. The population trend map shows a dark blue band in the black belt region, indicating severe population loss.

Perry County, Alabama lost 20% of its population between 2010 and 2020, while Duplin County, North Carolina, and Madison Parish, Louisiana lost 17%. In Perry County, ethnic or racial minorities made up 72.4% of the population and 65.9% of the population in Madison Parish. Perry County and Madison Parish voted for Biden in 2020, while Duplin County voted for Trump, who won by more than 20 percentage points.

The 2020 census report showed half the population was white in Duplin County, which could explain Trump’s landslide victory. Of 63 of 64 rural southern counties that had majority black or African American populations, only Early County, Georgia, voted for Trump in 2020.

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Close the window

Republish this article

You can republish our stories for free, online or in print. Simply copy and paste the article content into the box below. Note that some images and interactive features may not be included here. Read our reposting guidelines for more information.

Rural counties with greatest population loss voted most Democratic in 2020

!function(){“use strict”;window.addEventListener(“message”,(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data[“datawrapper-height”]){var t=document.querySelectorAll(“iframe”);for(var a in e.data[“datawrapper-height”])for(var r=0;r

In the 2020 presidential election, Democrat Joe Biden won the popular vote in just 10% of rural counties nationwide. There was a certain type of rural county where Biden doubled that win rate. Unfortunately for Democrats, rural counties are losing the most population.

From 2010 to 2020, 244 rural counties lost 10% or more of their population. Biden won the popular vote in 20% of those counties, as opposed to the rest of rural America, where he won about half that rate.

Population loss did not cause these counties to support Biden. Rather, it is the demographics of these counties that are losing population that explains the difference. Rural communities with the greatest population loss had higher percentages of ethnic or racial minorities than the rest of rural America. And these are populations that tend to vote more Democratic.

Rural counties that have lost a large portion of their population also tend to be struggling economically. This in turn leads to more people leaving.

!function(){“use strict”;window.addEventListener(“message”,(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data[“datawrapper-height”]){var t=document.querySelectorAll(“iframe”);for(var a in e.data[“datawrapper-height”])for(var r=0;r

Rural counties that have lost 10% or more of their population are grouped into a few regions: central Appalachia, the Mississippi River delta, the Texas border region, and parts of the Great Plains, and the Black Belt, a crescent stretching from Virginia to Texas with a large number of black residents.

the du Sud-Est is a region named for its dark soils where plantation agriculture dominated the economy before the Civil War. Due to the impact of slavery, systemic disparities persist in the black belt, where the average poverty rate is 23.8%. This is 10 percentage points higher than the national rural average.

Counties most affected by population loss also had higher percentages of vulnerable people, such as the elderly or living in poverty.

!function(){“use strict”;window.addEventListener(“message”,(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data[“datawrapper-height”]){var t=document.querySelectorAll(“iframe”);for(var a in e.data[“datawrapper-height”])for(var r=0;r

Take Quitman County, Mississippi, for example. Quitman County, located northwest of the Mississippi, is part of the Delta region. It is a farming community where approximately two-thirds of the population voted for Biden in 2020. Quitman County was ranked as persistent poverty county in 2013, meaning the poverty rate has been above 20% for at least three decades. In 2020, 75.9% of the population belonged to ethnic or racial minorities, compared to 23% of the population in the rest of rural America.

Between 2010 and 2020, Quitman County lost 9.3% of its population, from 8,223 in 2010 to 6,176 in 2020, according to the census. The average population change in rural counties was 1.89% between 2010 and 2020.

Bamberg County, South Carolina has seen a 16% decline from 2010 to 2020. The population has fallen from 15,987 a decade ago to 13,311 at the last census. Sixty-two percent of voters in 2020 voted for Biden in Bamberg County, which is also in persistent poverty. Sixty-two percent of the population belonged to ethnic or racial minorities in 2020.

!function(){“use strict”;window.addEventListener(“message”,(function(e){if( void 0!==e.data[“datawrapper-height”]){var t=document.querySelectorAll(“iframe”);for(var a in e.data[“datawrapper-height”])for(var r=0;r

Bamberg and Quitman counties were no exception among Black Belt communities. The population trend map shows a dark blue band in the black belt region, indicating severe population loss.

Perry County, Alabama lost 20% of its population between 2010 and 2020, while Duplin County, North Carolina and Madison Parish, Louisiana lost 17%. In Perry County, ethnic or racial minorities made up 72.4% of the population and 65.9% of the population in Madison Parish. Perry County and Madison Parish both voted for Biden in 2020, while Duplin County voted for Trump, who won by more than 20 percentage points.

The 2020 census report showed half the population was white in Duplin County, which could explain Trump’s landslide victory. Of 63 of 64 rural southern counties that had majority black or African American populations, only Early County, Georgia, voted for Trump in 2020.

This article first appeared on The Daily Yonder and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

1

Share.

Comments are closed.