RAPID CITY - New 2012 census estimates confirm that people are leaving the South Dakota countryside to live in the urban centers of Sioux Falls and Rapid City.

Gregory County Commission Chairman Dennis Vedralin tells the Rapid City Journal that it's an alarming trend that can lead to a shortage of retail options, limited access to professional services and the deterioration of roads.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 22 of the state's 66 counties are shrinking in population. The data is consistent with the rest of rural America, where deaths now exceed births in one in three counties.

Vedralin says the city of Gregory used to have all the car dealerships, implement dealers and grocery stores, but it lost all of them.

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