I think this Mother Jones thing (and, by extension, the WaPo thing) about definitional issues is probably misguided water-muddying.
Urbanization is happening at an increasing pace, and that "just is" rural health in decline seen from the city's perspective. I think Will Wilkinson is correct: the opportunity cost of non living in a dense city keeps going up, and that means places are either turning urban or seeing their population drain to cities.
@csalzman it was the spur to Kevin Drum's column in MoJo and linked there, but: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/05/24/real-surprisingly-comforting-reason-rural-america-is-doomed-decline/
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