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The “BOOM” in Rural Population Growth


The “BOOM” in Rural Population Growth

The town of Midwest, Natrona County, Wyoming. At one time this building was the a hotel, before it became a Mason's lodge. Now it sits abandoned on a bluff overlooking the town's football field and two blocks from the local school where a gas leak shut down the only school for 40 miles. Photo copyright of Vincent David Johnson.

The kids could smell it as the town's school filled with gases 20 to 200 times the recommended levels. Midwest, Natrona County, Wyoming, 2016.

The fate of Midwest & other mining towns

Eventually the wells will run dry and besides thinking about what that means to the local economy, one has to look at the very likely possibilities that the companies who ran them may no longer be in business the next time one leaks. But if there are no wells left around Midwest, will the town still have a reason to exist.

The fate of Midwest is still uncertain. The town of of just under 400 has shrunk by almost half since 1980, and while that pace has slowed (estimated at -2.2% since 2010) almost of third of the remaining population lives at or below the poverty line.

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