Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/650

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tract has increased, and it separates the great northeastern area of decreasing counties from a much smaller, but still an important and well-defined one, comprising twenty-five counties in southern Michigan, six in northern Indiana, and the northwesternmost county of Ohio. This tract, which therefore includes thirty-three counties in all, and covers an area of 18,373 square miles, or about equal to the combined area of Vermont and New Hampshire, is quite regular in its outline. It includes, with the exception of a couple of counties on the Lake Michigan shore, practically all the counties of the southern half of the lower peninsula. The counties in the immediate vicinity of Chicago, and which have gained, perhaps, as a result of the enormous growth of that city, separate this area of decrease central in southern Michigan from that of which the Mississippi River is the center.

The rural population of this area in Michigan, northern Indiana, and northwestern Ohio at the tenth and eleventh censuses compares as follows:

1880 775,053
1890 729,423
Decrease 45,630
Percentage of decrease 5·89

There are some clusters or groups of decreasing counties scattered over the cotton States. Thus, in northern Mississippi and southwestern Tennessee there is a group of some eight counties, each of which has lost rural population. This group is very nearly connected through northern Alabama with the great decreasing group of the Eastern and Central States. There is another group on the Mississippi and Big Black Rivers in Mississippi and Louisiana, several in central Georgia and Alabama, and a well-defined one in that part of Florida which adjoins south-western Georgia. Compared, however, with the Northern and border States, the decrease in the far Southern States is by no means noteworthy.

There are in the far West counties which show the usual fluctuations of frontier communities, in which a too rapid boom is not infrequently followed by a period of depression in which emigrants are more numerous than immigrants. The decay of the mining industries of Nevada and the adjacent portions of California and Utah has caused a relatively very heavy decrease in the population of this region, a decrease which has been felt by the cities as well, though usually not to so great an extent as by the more isolated mining camps and the farming settlements dependent upon the mines for a market for their products. But with the exception of a few of the older counties of Kansas, in which the same influences have apparently been in operation as