WASHINGTON — People who live in rural areas are more likely to own their own homes, live in their state of birth and have served in the military than their urban counterparts, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
The nation’s largest household survey, the American Community Survey, is the only annual dataset that produces this range of statistics for all of the nation’s 3,142 counties.
For the three-fourths of all counties with populations too small to produce single-year statistics (2,323 counties), it is the only available dataset.
“Rural areas cover 97 percent of the nation’s land area but contain 19.3 percent of the population (about 60 million people),” Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said.
The release features data collected between 2011 and 2015 on more than 40 demographic, housing, social and economic topics, including commuting, educational attainment and home value.
There were about 47 million adults 18 years and older living in rural areas. Most adults in both rural and urban areas owned their own homes but the percentage was higher in rural areas (81.1 percent compared with 59.8 percent).
Adults in rural areas were also more likely to live in single-family homes (78.3 percent compared with 64.6 percent) and live in their state of birth (65.4 percent compared with 48.3 percent).
Veterans comprised 10.4 percent of the population of adults in rural areas compared with 7.8 percent of adults in urban areas. Adults in rural areas had a median age of 51, making them older compared with adults in urban areas with a median age of 45.
They had lower rates of poverty (11.7 percent compared with 14 percent) but were less likely to have obtained a bachelor’s degree or higher (19.5 percent compared with 29 percent).
Rural communities had fewer adults born in other countries compared with those in urban areas (4.0 percent compared with 19.0 percent).