When singers croon about the old yellow moonlight spilling through the pines of the Georgia woods, the “Georgia rain on the Jasper County clay” and taking the “midnight train to Georgia,” they evoke nostalgia for the state’s graceful beauty and the simpler feel of rural life. The hard reality is that today, rural areas throughout the state are losing people and jobs to urban centers; currently “53 percent of Georgia counties are in distress,” according to a state House council.
Rural areas are especially impacted by the continuing loss of young people who leave rural hometowns for school or jobs and do not return. Of the 159 counties in Georgia, 36 now have death rates higher than their birth rates and all of those are in rural Georgia, resulting in an aging population with rising health care needs. Continue Reading