Geography of Population Loss in the U.S.: New Insights from a Typology of Decline

a Presentation

Rachel Franklin (Brown University)

Wednesday, 11/29/2017, 1:00 pm.   ARCHIVED EVENT

Location: 1028 Dana Bldg, SEAS

Measures of population change for any location are problematic: both the choice of time period and spatial unit will affect results. Moreover, loss in a particular location may be balanced by growth in neighboring locations or may be paired with more loss in the larger region. These difficulties suggest that a more useful indicator of population decline—one that might serve better to assist policymakers and researchers in identifying vulnerable locations and populations—should incorporate measures of both temporal and spatial scale. Together these elements differentiate between, for example, counties in growing regions that are experiencing only recent population loss and those for which decline has been persistent over time. This paper employs contemporary and historical county-level population data for the United States to quantify and characterize the areal extent of population decline in the United States. This goal is accomplished by developing and comparing typologies of declining and growing counties. The typologies are based on three elements: population change 2000–2010, population change 1950–2010, and population change in neighboring areas, 1950–2010. Taken together, these elements yield three categories for counties that lost population, 2000–2010, and three for those that gained population during the period. Resulting categories of loss (and gain) are then assessed and compared, with the aim of identifying the best fitting categorization of population change for these areas.

If you would like to meet with Dr. Franklin on Nov. 28 or Nov. 29, please e-mail Arthur Endsley (

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