Determinants of Population Growth U.S. Micropolitan Areas


Myles Clark

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Publication Date

Spring 2021


In 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau officially recognized micropolitan areas as any area where a principal city of at least 5,000 residents is surrounded by rural communities. In these areas, residents enjoy both urban and rural amenities, and they have continued to expand throughout the decades. Prior researchers have investigated population growth determinants in these micropolitan areas, finding sector composition and amenity attractiveness to be relatively important determinants. This body of work seeks to better understand the relationship between population growth and a supposed key demographic, educated middle-aged individuals, as it compares to previously established determinants. The statistical software EViews was used to perform a Cross-Section Analysis of data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau on 550 micropolitan areas in the U.S. Ordinary Least Squares was used to construct an empirical model where the chosen variables are attributed to one of four areas: sector composition, amenity attractiveness, educational attainment, and various control variables. Numerous variables that accounted for sector composition and amenity attractiveness proved statistically significant in determining population growth. The educational attainment of individuals in micropolitan areas was also found to be statistically significant, but no significance was found in the age demographic of individuals living in micropolitan areas. Overall, this body of work supports the noted importance of sector composition and amenity attractiveness as determinants of population growth in micropolitan areas, and while there is some significance in the educational attainment, there is no evidence signifying any key demographic in U.S. micropolitan area population growth.


Category B - Award recipient

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