USDA ERS released its 2016 Rural Development at a Glance publication this month. As always, interesting points to ponder. This table with counties coded by dominant industry is interesting and shows the diversity of industry among Texas rural counties.
We like to think of Texas as a fairly rural state, but Census data shows that only 15.3% of Texans live in rural areas v. 19.3% across the entire U.S. In fact, Texas ranks as the 36th most rural state by that measure (alternatively, the 17th most urban, including the entirely urban District of Columbia). The most rural state is Maine at 61.3%, followed by Vermont at 61.6%. Even states we think of as very rural tend to have the majority of their populations clustered in urban areas. For example, Oklahoma’s population is 33.8% rural and Kansas’s population is 25.8% rural using the Census definition.
We do rank 1st in number of people living in rural areas (3,847,522). North Carolina ranks 2nd with 3,233,727, followed by Pennsylvania at 2,711,092.