UACES Facebook Two-Thirds of Arkansas Counties Lost Population – It is Time for Action
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CED Blog

Two-Thirds of Arkansas Counties Lost Population – It is Time for Action

by Mark Peterson - May 21, 2018

Pie chart showing that 33% of Arkansas counties gained population in 2017 while 67% lost populationThe most recent Census reveals that not only did 2/3 of Arkansas counties lose population between 2012 and 2017, but 89% of Arkansas counties did not keep up with the national rate of growth.

As you know, the loss of population is harmful to a community, as it reduces income to local businesses, non-profits, and local governments. It can also trigger a downward spiral as deteriorating infrastructure can accelerate the process.

The 21st century economy is global, it is digital, and it is fast. It is also disruptive, and what worked even 4 or 5 years ago may not be working as well today. But it is also loaded with opportunities for communities and regions that understand the key drivers of change and how to take advantage of those drivers.

These opportunities will be explored more fully in the 2018 Breakthrough Solutions Conference and Pre-Conference Workshop on June 6-7. With the theme “Strengthening Your Community's Opportunity Pipeline,” the conference will feature Liesl Voges, Director of the Iowa Great Places Program as keynote speaker. This is particularly important today because quality of place has become a major economic driver in the 21st century economy. The conference will include 21 additional speakers addressing several other issues and opportunities facing Arkansas communities.

Turn Around Communities in the 21st Century Economy” is the theme of the pre-conference workshop, and will feature a turnaround community story from Missouri with six key elements, a panel of community leaders with turn-around experience, and action planning to develop turn around strategies for an Arkansas communities.

New technologies are another important economic driver, so the conference will include a virtual reality demonstration for tourism, a robot, and a certified drone pilot.

Breakthrough Solutions is a partnership program of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, housed in the Cooperative Extension Service. Our Breakthrough Solutions partners have pulled together a terrific conference and we invite community and regional leaders to join us.

You can learn more and register online at The deadline for early bird registration is Thursday, May 24, so you will want to act now.