Emerging public concerns over U.S. population movements in an era of slowing growth

by Peter A. Morrison

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Today, as never before, migration has the effect of restructuring political and fiscal relationships among and within regions. Several major migration shifts that are shaping the particular manifestations of the population slowdown around the nation are reviewed: (1) regional shifts, where reference is to census regions and divisions, and states; (2) sectoral, comparing metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas; and (3) local, with the focus on individual metropolitan areas. Population decline has a certain internal logic that demographic analysis can disclose; but logic is cold comfort for an area afflicted with the problems that evolve in the absence of growth. Contraction cannot be accomplished simply by reversing the process of expansion within an existing organizational setting; and old ways of financing prove awkward in newly stable areas. In areas where rapid growth is under way the problems that arriving migrants cause (or are thought to cause) have provoked local growth controls.

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