Opinion: US Census results provide insight into changes to come in Alabama | News
Last week’s official release of 2020 census data has got people talking about what has been revealed.
Most noteworthy is that Huntsville has overtaken Birmingham as the largest city in the state of Alabama. It’s not just Huntsville’s growth that’s driven them up, but Birmingham’s population continues to decline. In fact, the city of Montgomery is also poised to overtake Birmingham.
This was expected, as the community of Huntsville has grown tremendously over the past 10 years. Of course, the population and GDP of the Birmingham-Hoover metropolitan area is significantly larger than the Huntsville area.
Yet it’s the rural dwellers who continue to dwindle in the state that really grab the headlines. The census showed more population decline outside of the state’s major cities. Specifically, the majority of Alabama counties considered the rural population lost.
Farmland covers nearly a third of the state, and nearly one in five employees in the state work in the agricultural industry.
Alabama has always been a state whose agriculture is the backbone of its economy and culture. So the question will be what effect rural Alabama’s flight to cities and suburbs will have on the future of the state.
For now, agriculture is still vital to this state, and that’s good for Alabama.
Paul DeMarco is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives.