Structural differentiation, a concept used here to measure differences between rural U.S. counties, can assist policymakers in determining degrees of rural development. The Guttman scale of structural differentiation, derived from Dun and Bradstreet retail establishment data, is examined for its validity as a measure and its ability to discriminate among counties. Valid, stable scales of differentiation can be built from secondary data sources and may help in research. They must be further refined in terms of their relationship with population size and density, economic growth, and individual quality of life.


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