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Abstract

The orientation of counties to metropolitan systems and urban centers is identified by population density and percentage of population urban. This analytical framework differentiates six kinds of counties, ranging from most urban-oriented, group 1, to least urban-oriented, group 6. With this framework, it can be seen that the economic well-being of county residents varies with the urban orientation of their county. Between 1950 and 1960, county population growth also varied with urban orientation. But in the following 6 years (1960-66), population growth slowed considerably in group 1 counties and moderately in groups 2 and 3, but accelerated in groups 4 and 5. In group 6, the decline was arrested. The quickening growth in the less urban-oriented counties promises to help bring prosperity to many areas that were formerly cut off from the mainstream of American economic life. But many of the people who live in these areas are elderly and disabled or lack the education, training, and experience to compete effectively in urban labor markets. Consequently, these people would benefit from training programs and other programs to improve their nutrition, health care, and education.

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