UACES Facebook Arkansas' Rural Population in Decline
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Arkansas' Rural Population in Decline

by Wayne Miller - July 13, 2018

Arkansas' population grew at a slower rate than the national average and the population of rural Arkansas continues to decline similar to the nationwide trend since the Great Recession. Forty-eight counties or three-fourths of rural Arkansas counties lost population from 2010 to 2017. During this period, rural counties in the state lost more than 30,000 people, 2.4% of their population.

This is in contrast to urban counties in the state that gained nearly 119,000 people for a growth of 7.2% from 2010 to 2017. The total population of Arkansas grew by 3% compared to a national growth of 5.5% during this period.

The Delta and Coastal Plains regions of the state continue to lose population at the highest rates, 5.8% and 5.3% respectively from 2010 to 2017. The Highlands region experienced only a slight decline of less than 1% during this period.

The population decline in rural Arkansas counties was the result of declining population in the 0-19 and 30-54 age groups. All three rural regions experienced a decline of population in these two age groups and an increase in population of people 65 years of age and older. The decline in population of the working age population suggests a decline in employment opportunities.

For more information on population and employment changes in Arkansas, refer to the 2017 Rural Profile of Arkansas at: or contact Wayne Miller at


Map showing Arkansas Rural Population Decline from 2010 to 2017