According to the Census Bureau’s 2015 county population estimates, the nation's most urban counties continue to grow faster than any other county type, reports Cheryl Russell of Demo Memo.
There has been strong metro growth from 2010-to-2015, as shown in a Demo Memo analysis of county population trends along the Rural-Urban Continuum, which is the federal government's way of classifying counties by their degree of urbanity. It is a scale ranging from 1 (the most urban counties, in metropolitan areas of 1 million or more) to 9 (the most rural counties, lacking any settlements of 2,500 or more people and not adjacent to a metropolitan area).
After sorting the nation’s 3,000-plus counties by rank on the continuum, then measure population change between 2010 and 2015 for each rank, Demo Memo compiled the results:
1. 5.3% for rank 1 counties, in metros with 1 million or more people
2. 3.9% for rank 2 counties, in metros of 250,000 to 1 million people
3. 2.6% for rank 3 counties, in metros with less than 250,000 people
4. 0.1% for rank 4 counties, nonmetro adjacent to metro with urban pop of 20,000+
5. 1.7% for rank 5 counties, nonmetro not adjacent to metro with urban pop of 20,000+
6. -0.8% for rank 6 counties, nonmetro adjacent to metro with urban pop of 2,500-19,999
7. -0.5% for rank 7 counties, nonmetro not adjacent to metro with urban pop of 2,500-19,999
8. -1.1% for rank 8 counties, nonmetro adjacent to metro with urban pop less than 2,500
9. -1.2% for rank 9 counties, nonmetro not adjacent to metro, urban pop less than 2,500
The most urban counties (a 1 on the scale) grew the fastest between 2010 and 2015. The most rural counties (8 and 9 on the scale) experienced the biggest declines.