This report prepared by The Center for Rural Pennsylvania identifies “The implications from these projections underscore the challenges of slow and somewhat uneven population growth and an aging population. They also highlight the opportunities of population growth through in-migration.”
“From 2010 to 2040, Pennsylvania is projected to gain 1.42 million people. Ninety percent of these new residents are projected to live in urban counties and 10 percent in rural counties. [NOTE: Each of the counties in Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources Service Area 13 – Berks, Lancaster and Lebanon – are urban counties.]
“While rural Pennsylvania is projected to have a 4 percent increase in population, urban counties are projected to have a 14 percent increase and the U.S. is projected to have a 23 percent increase.
“Rural Pennsylvania’s population will continue to grow slowly, and still somewhat unevenly, as 18 rural counties are projected to see population declines. However, 30 rural counties are projected to experience population increases.
“The bulk of the population gains in rural counties will be attributed to in-migration rather than natural change, as the projections indicate that rural Pennsylvania counties will have more deaths than births from 2010 to 2040. The main driver of the negative natural change is the rapid increase in the number of deaths. From 2010 to 2040, the number of deaths in rural Pennsylvania is expected to increase 25 percent, which far outpace the expected number of births, which are projected to increase only 5 percent.
“In-migration, on the other hand, is projected to trend upward. Rural counties are projected to see a 5 percent increase in in-migration. The majority of these new rural residents will come from overseas.
“Another continuing trend is the aging of rural Pennsylvania. This trend is being fueled, in part, by aging baby boomers (persons born between 1946 and 1964) and a slowly increasing birth rate. From 2010 to 2040, the number of rural senior citizens is projected to increase 54 percent while the number of youth is projected to decline 3 percent. Urban counties are projected to see a 5 percent increase in youth and a 72 percent increase in senior citizens.”