Post-1970 nonmetropolitan population shifts are examined by dividing nonmetropolitan counties into ten cohorts based on the duration and direction of consistent population change since 1920. Analysis indicates that the post-1970 gains reported by Beale are pervasive in nonmetropolitan America, occurring even in a majority of the counties that lost population consistently from 1920 to 1970.Growth was greatest in counties adjacent to metropolitan areas but was more than urban spillover effect. In a clear break with traditional patterns, net inmigration contributed significantly to overall population gain and was particularly strong among counties without an urban center. The rate of natural increase continued to slow in the post-1970 period, with natural decrease becoming common among counties with protracted histories of population decline.
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Johnson, K.M., Purdy, R.L. Recent nonmetropolitan population change in fifty-year perspective. Demography 17, 57–70 (1980). https://doi.org/10.2307/2060963