‘Losing our stature’ as rural housing supply dwindles

(The Center Square) — Rural Pennsylvania keeps losing population, yet its home prices remain out of reach for many residents.

The exodus of people has created problems for economic growth and maintaining community alike.

“There’s a number of challenges that we face, but in Mercer County, none is more important than the 1% population loss that we’ve faced every year for the last 30 years,” Rod Wilt, executive director of the Penn-Northwest Development Corporation, told the House GOP Policy Committee during a Wednesday hearing. “We have fewer young families at this time than we’ve had at any time in the last 50 years.”

All school districts have had significant drops in enrollments, he said, as the area deals with a “massive labor shortage.”

“Without targeted economic development programs and assistance to aid smaller rural counties, we’re going to continue the downward spiral of population and opportunities,” Wilt said.

Population loss is at
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