Impacts of rural land development on natural resources in the United States have been well documented and research on rural land development provides important inputs to land conservation policy and program development. Although numerous landuse studies have been completed for the western and eastern states, still lacking is a single study examining changes in population, housing, and land development in the two regions. To provide context for natural resource and land conservation programs and policies, we quantify recent and long-term changes in population and housing, rural development rates, and land-use transitions involving forests for the eastern and western regions. Relative to the West, the East has a more evenly distributed population and has experienced greater population increases, rates of land development, and forestland conversion. We discuss these patterns of population growth and land development in the context of natural resource policies and forestland goods and services.