Census: Near-record level of US counties dying
EmailPrint.. AP – A coal truck drives through an railroad tressel near downtown Welch, W.Va., Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011. … .By HOPE YEN and JOHN RABY, Associated Press Hope Yen And John Raby, Associated Press – Tue Feb 22, 5:22 pm ET
WELCH, W.Va. – In America's once-thriving coal country, 87-year-old Ed Shepard laments a prosperous era gone by, when shoppers lined the streets and government lent a helping hand. Now, here as in one-fourth of all U.S. counties, West Virginia's graying residents are slowly dying off.
Hit by an aging population and a poor economy, a near-record number of U.S. counties are experiencing more deaths than births in their communities, a phenomenon demographers call "natural decrease."