Forty-one percent of North Carolina municipalities have seen a decline in population between 2010 and 2016, according to recent study by UNC Carolina Population Center.
The northeast corner of the state has seen the largest population decline — specifically Bertie, Northampton and Washington counties. The ten municipalities with the greatest percentage declines all lie within these counties, according to the study.
Although some municipality populations, like that of Rocky Mount, appear to be “leveling out,” Bertie County is still being hit hard, as it contained the eight municipalities with the greatest percentage of population decline between 2015 and 2016.
Jessica Stanford, the author of the study, said this population trend is largely due to the changing job market.
"Jobs in such rural occupations are on the decline, meanwhile skilled labor jobs are growing at such a rate that we don’t have enough growth to support it,” she said.