By Paul DeMarco, commentary
This past week’s official release of the 2020 census data has folks talking about some of what was revealed.
Most newsworthy is that Huntsville has overtaken Birmingham as the largest city in the state of Alabama. It was not only the growth of Huntsville that moved them up, but Birmingham continues to shrink in population. Actually, the city of Montgomery is close to also overtaking Birmingham as well.
That was expected as the Huntsville community has grown tremendously the past ten years. Of course, the population and GDP of the Birmingham-Hoover metro area are significantly larger than the Huntsville region.
Yet, it is the residents in the rural areas that continue to shrink in the state that is really the headline. The census showed more decline of the population outside of the larger cities in the state. Specifically, a majority of the counties in Alabama considered rural lost population.
Farmland covers almost a third of the state and one out of almost five employees in the state work in the agriculture industry.
Alabama has always been a state with agriculture as the backbone of its economy and culture. Thus, the question will be what effect will the flight from rural Alabama to the cities and suburbs have on the future of the state.
For now, Agriculture is still vital to this state and that is good for Alabama.
Paul DeMarco is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives