New data shows young people are deserting rural parts of the West Midlands as house price rises continue to outpace income.
The National Housing Federation said there had been a “stark demographic shift” as house prices nearly double in rural areas meaning the number of people between 30 and 44 has dropped by over 10 per cent over the last decade.
The analysis also shows the number of children under 10 in rural West Midlands areas has also fallen by more than five per cent, while numbers have risen by nearly five per cent elsewhere.
Overall, there are three per cent fewer under-45s in rural areas in the West Midlands but there has been a four per cent rise across the UK.
The number of over-65s in rural areas in the West Midlands has risen 2.6 times faster than in towns and cities, after a 25 per cent rise.
This has come as rural parts of the West Midlands have seen house prices rise by 77 per cent in ten years, up from an average of £120,980 to £213,859.
Elizabeth Humphreys, West Midlands lead manager for the National Housing Federation, said wages had not kept pace with the rise.
She said: “Young people are being priced out of the rural West Midlands by rising housing costs and are moving elsewhere to raise their families. What will happen to the local shops and pubs, the village school, the small businesses that maintain rural economies, if there’s no-one left to keep them open?”