Nonmetropolitan America in Transition

By Amos H. Hawley; Sara Mills Mazie | Go to book overview

3
Local Perspectives on Community Growth

INTRODUCTION

There is growing evidence of a unique trend in population redistribution in the United States. For most of the post- World War II era, interest in migration focused on a massive movement of residence and workplace from major urban centers to peripheral suburban areas ( Farley 1976; Hawley 1972; Kasarda 1978; Zimmer 1975). In the more recent past, the decline of population in the urbanized regions of the United States (i.e., particularly the Northeast and North Central States) and the considerable movement of people and commerce to the South and West has been of increasing concern ( Alonso 1971; Perry and Watkins 1977; Morrison 1977c). By the mid- 1970s, attention shifted to an unprecedented resurgence of nonmetro population growth ( Beale 1975; Berry 1976; McCarthy and Morrison 1978). The extent, meaning, and causes of this population turnaround are more fully explored elsewhere.

The purpose of this chapter is to present evidence that complements and expands knowledge about the social consequences of nonmetro growth. This topic draws upon sociological theories about the rural to urban transformation of communities in modern society, and in particular the effects of this growth upon individuals' actions and attitudes within their localities. The most common research method for determining the existence of what is described later as a more "urban way of life" is the ecological approach, which contrasts aggregate rates of community or individuals' characteristics with demographic change in the locality. Historical (or longitudinal) and comparative designs can be employed in these types of analyses. Although some information of this sort is reviewed here, as well as case-study data, major attention is devoted to the social impact as

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