The West led a rebound in nonmetro population growth from the mid-1980’s through the early 1990’s, caused mostly by changing patterns of net migration. Growth rates in the West have remained above other areas since 1970, but have fluctuated over time and shifted geographically. Scenic settings accessible to metro areas continued to attract a disproportionate share of new residents, but record numbers of recent migrants chose more sparsely settled and isolated areas with fewer natural amenities. The costs as well as the benefits of population-related development are being felt in a broader cross-section of rural places.


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