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Counterurbanization or de-urbanization is a demographic and social process whereby people move from urban areas to rural areas. It is along with suburbanization inversely related to urbanization. It first took place as a reaction to inner-city deprivation and overcrowding. Initial studies of counterurbanization were carried out by human geographer Brian Berry.[1] More recent research has documented the social and political drivers of counterurbanization and its impacts in developing countries such as China, which are currently undergoing processes of mass urbanization.[2] It is one of the causes that can lead to shrinking cities.


Deurbanization is the opposite of urbanization, the process by which people migrate from rural to urban communities. People have moved from rural to urban communities for various reasons including job opportunities and simpler lives. In recent years, due to technology this process has been happening in reverse. With the rate of technology, people from rural communities can work from home because they can connect with each other via rural Internet, which no longer requires moving to an urban community for employment opportunities.[3]

In past years, a multi-corporation business would use outsourcing by hiring workers in poorer countries for cheap labor, but in more recent years, corporations have been using "rural sourcing." Rural sourcing is using a source from small- to medium-sized towns, this creates jobs in the country and also for rural communities so they do not need to move their entire family to a whole new setting, and also reduces unnecessary expenses. Most of the workers in these rural settings get paid less but have an option of either working from home or an office. If they were in an urban setting, the company would spend more money on an entirely new office.[4]

In the past, the general migration trend in the United States has been from the east to the west. Art Hall, an executive director of the Centre for Applied Economics at the University of Kansas School of Business states "California has been losing people for at least a decade" "...two patterns of migration are under way in California. People are leaving the coast and moving to the Northern interior. When they leave, they tend to go places like Arizona and Nevada. So it's not a far move. And they also are going up north to Seattle and Portland. Part of the answer there is that it's just very expensive to live on the California coast."[5]

According to Hall, people have been influenced to move because of factors like climate, jobs and tax rates. Hall also found that people who are not as stable as a family will tend to move more.[6] People choosing to live in rural areas have found it more beneficial because of cleaner air, peace and quiet, and lots of space. Smaller towns have also been proven to be convenient as well.[7]

Recent data by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) shows that people are moving from big cities with populations over 4 million to much smaller cities with around 1-2 million people.[8]

See also[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Griffiths, Michael. B., Flemming Christiansen and Malcolm Chapman. (2010) 'Chinese Consumers: The Romantic Reappraisal’. Ethnography, Sept 2010, 11, 331-357.
  3. ^ Science Daily
  4. ^ Science Daily
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Science Daily
  8. ^ Science Daily

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