The press release is a couple of weeks old, but I've just discovered that the director of the US Census Bureau has stern words against the phrase "dying counties," which I used in a post a few weeks ago to tweak the notion that the Republican Party's base is in dynamic, job-creating parts of the nation. Robert Groves wrote on his blog that journalists are reading too much into "natural decrease" numbers, which mean that a county has had more deaths than births in a given period:
Jumping from observations of counties that show no natural increase in a year to labeling them as “dying” is quite a leap. Natural increase can affect the population size but in-migration and out-migration can also affect the size of a county. Together, the ups and downs of county populations are part of the dynamic nature of our country. A year of loss does not mean an inevitable course to death.
Groves also includes this chart, which surprised me. It shows that not much more than a third of all US counties have had uninterrupted growth over the past half century. It seems that many, perhaps most, of all "dying counties" are able to cheat death eventually: