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Population decline hits rural areas hard

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WOONSOCKET — Lindy Peterson used to know every resident of Woonsocket by name. “Now, it seems like half the people I don’t know,” said Peterson, 66, who is in his third year as the town’s mayor. “There are a lot of new faces.”

And yet, between 1980 and 2012, Woonsocket’s population declined more than 19 percent, from 799 to 646, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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