This article was written by Alison Fields, Kelly Ann Holder, and Charlynn Burd, Social, Economic and Housing Statistics Division. It was originally published to the Census blog, Random Samplings, on December 8, 2016.
We are a nation of communities. The 2011-2015 American Community Survey statistics released earlier this year helps tell the story of us all — each city, town and neighborhood. This year we are taking a detour down a road driven by only one in five Americans. We are exploring what the latest U.S. Census Bureau statistics can tell us about the 60 million people who live in rural America. Rural areas can take on varying characteristics affected by regional differences across the country. The rural population is not the same everywhere except in its distinction of not being urban. American Community Survey statistics are the only source of annual data for some rural residents, and are vital for local decision making by elected officials, city and county planners, and businesses. Recently, the Census Bureau released several products highlighting selected characteristics of the rural population of America.