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Reversing Population Decline in Rural Pennsylvania

June 30, 2023  | Rural People and Communities

Historical population decline in rural Pennsylvania runs counter to polling data suggesting that many Americans prefer to live in rural areas if they could live anywhere they wished. The purpose of this study was to explore this disconnect guided by two research questions: What are the factors that lure (i.e., pull toward) or block (i.e., push away) people from relocating to, and staying in, rural areas, and how do those factors align with existing population shrinkage strategies, specifically for rural communities? To explore these research questions, the researchers conducted an online survey that incorporated both quantitative and qualitative data collected from residents of Pennsylvania and 10 states adjacent to Pennsylvania. Participants were recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk. Overall, the results of the study support the argument that there are individuals living in both neighboring states and in non-rural Pennsylvania that are not attached to where they currently live, would prefer to live in a rural area, and may respond positively to relocation incentives that are tailored to their needs and wants.

Executive Summary

Tags:  rural population , #community development , population shrinkage , relocation , qulaity of life

Introducing the Center's new journal, Rural Policy: The Research Bulletin of the Center for Rural Pennsylvania.