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There are pockets of growth, but many parts of rural Wisconsin continue to lose people

Quoted: In a Harris Poll of 2,050 U.S. adults last year, nearly one-third said they considered moving to a less densely populated place because of the pandemic. The age group 18 to 34 was especially interested.

Still, it’s unknown whether the pandemic-related population gains are sustainable, according to David Egan Robertson, a researcher with UW-Madison’s Applied Population Laboratory.

The number of young people in Wisconsin’s metropolitan areas has fallen about 4% over the past 20 years. But it’s down about 13% in the non-metro areas, according to Robertson.

“That’s a real issue for a lot of school districts,” he said.