ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. — As the Charlotte area continues to thrive, surrounding rural counties on both sides of the Carolinas are growing too.
"We know people are coming," Dennis E. Marstall, an administrator for Lancaster County, said.
Data from the U.S Census Bureau highlighted consistent population declines for rural areas from 2010-2020, but new data shows things are changing.
"From the the suburban eyes in Indian Land area to the southern rural parts, Lancaster County is growing everywhere," Marstall said.
Marstall said they're projected to be on their path to a 136,000 population, in comparison to the 96,000 population from two years prior.
Lancaster County is just one of many rural areas in South Carolina seeing lots of growth, and North Carolina's rural counties are seeing a spark too.
Data from the North Carolina Rural Center shows rural counties like Lincoln and Rowan are driven entirely by net migration.
"For a lot of rural communities, this is kind of a very good thing to hear," Dalton Bailey, the data and research manager for North Carolina Rural Center, said.
Bailey said the growth can be contributed to many factors including lower cost of living, less crowds, and hybrid work.
"They're willing to accept a longer commute into the urban center for their job," Bailey said.
They said the population growth helps strengthen economies and investments, while bringing a better quality of life to the countryside.
"We welcome them," Marstall said.