Cover: The changing demographic and economic structure of nonmetropolitan areas in the 1970s

The changing demographic and economic structure of nonmetropolitan areas in the 1970s

by Kevin F. McCarthy, Peter A. Morrison

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Abstract

Identifies and quantifies new forces in addition to metropolitan sprawl that impel nonmetropolitan growth. Using county-level data files, the authors identified specialized growth-inducing activities: recreation, retirement, energy extraction, manufacturing, and government related activity. Nonmetropolitan areas are evolving along three dimensions: increasing accessibility to national metropolitan economy due to advances in transportation, industrial trends, and changes in American life-style (including earlier retirement, and increased orientation toward leisure activities). Multivariate analysis supports two major conclusions: (1) The accelerated migration into entirely rural countries signals a new, more complex spatial settlement pattern. (2) Previous growth advantages associated with manufacturing and government have diminished, and retirement and recreation have emerged as important growth-inducing activities. The analysis also raises some puzzles. The previously dominant role of search for economic opportunity as the original impetus to migration may have weakened.

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