Most of the seven counties in Northwest North Carolina that lost population in the previous decade saw some growth since the start of the pandemic.

The decade between 2010 and 2020 saw a movement away from the state’s rural areas to urban centers. Our region was no exception. Rockingham, Stokes, Surry, Yadkin, Wilkes, Ashe and Alleghany counties all saw population declines during that period.

But since the start of the pandemic in April 2020 to July of last year, all but Wilkes reversed that trend and added residents. 

Wilkes declined by about .3 percent. The adjacent counties of Surry and Yadkin had the slowest rate of growth compared to the rest of the region, adding a total of less than 300 people.

Part of the issue is fewer people having babies, says Nathan Dollar, executive director of Carolina Demography at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“Fertility rates have been below replacement nationwide, since 2010," he says. "The overwhelming majority of the population growth that we see in North Carolina has been due to in-migration. People move to where there are more economic opportunities, which typically tend to be in the urban metro centers.”

The fastest growing county in the region was Davie at just over 3 percent.


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