The American experience has been one of constant and accelerating change. Against this background, American cities have exerted a magnetic pull attracting streams of migration from rural to urban areas transforming a predominantly rural society into one in which 75 percent of the people live in urban areas. Population and Community in Rural America focuses on migration as the primary force for population change in rural America. Within smaller, more dispersed rural populations, any changes in the number of births or deaths, or movement in or out of the area impact community and family structures. In the last half-century, migration studies have been the single largest area of rural population research because the consequences of migration on both community population and socioecomic structure are usually much greater than shifts in mortality and fertility. Garkovich argues that migration streams exert a cohesive force, binding American communities together and that such in/out migrations have contributed to a national character based on intermingled rural and urban perspectives. She presents a thorough investigation of the nature of migration and its effect on other population processes and characteristics, and explains why particular patterns of migration and population change have occurred at certain points in the historical development of rural America. The first two chapters describe various theoretical and methodological issues; review major social, ecomic, and political events of the three historical eras of rural population change; and consider the social environment within which the changes occurred. Chapters three through six detail rural population changes including major migration streams and the factors and outcomes associated with, or attributable to, these movements. Chapter seven analyses institutional forces that have effected both the study and interpretation of rural population change and offers provocative suggestions. A final chapter summarizes major changes in rural America, explains how migration continues to shape current rural populations, and identifies critical issues for future migration research. An important tool for students and scholars, this volume will also be of particular interest to those readers studying population migration and rural communities.
LORRAINE GARKOVICH is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture. Her research focuses on consequences of population change for rural communties and patterns of family and work roles in farm households. Her articles have appeared in Rural Sociology, Teaching Sociology, and the Journal of the Community Development Society, and her chapters have appeared in books on community development, American farm women, and rural policy. Garkovich is a member of the Rural Sociological Society, the Population Association of America, and the Community Development Society.