Original Paper

The Annals of Regional Science

, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 861-883

First online:

Natural amenities and their effects on migration along the urban–rural continuum

  • Guangqing ChiAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology and Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University Email author 
  • , David W. MarcouillerAffiliated withDepartment of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


The importance of natural amenities in promoting development and population change has been addressed in a large body of literature with recent studies identifying rather obvious spatial heterogeneity in the effects of natural amenities on migration. This said, the potential variation along the urban–rural continuum has not been addressed empirically. In this study, we examine and compare the migration effects of natural amenities in five specific urban–rural continuum types at the minor civil division level in the US state of Wisconsin. Results of spatial analysis suggest that natural amenities do indeed have differing effects on migration along this urban–rural continuum. Overall, natural amenities have the largest effect on in-migration into rural areas adjacent to metro areas and no effect on in-migration into urban areas. The effects of natural amenities on in-migration into remote rural areas rely more on growth trends within these regions. These findings have important implications for rural development, land use policy, and natural resource management.

JEL Classification

R11 R14 R15 R23