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Abstract

Urbanization is advancing rapidly in many areas of the United States, yet urban areas occupy only about 10 percent of the Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas, where there is the greatest concentration of population. Moreover, the current rate of urbanization has had little apparent impact on total U.S. agricultural production. Seventy percent of the U.S. population lives within the Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas (SMSA's)—counties or groups of counties with urban concentrations of 50,000 or more people. Over 80 percent of the population increase between 1960 and 1970 occurred in SMSA's. About 7 million acres, an average of nearly one-third of an acre per capita population increase, shifted to urban uses within SMSA's during that time. Only 10 percent of the total area of SMSA's was in urban uses in 1970. Twenty-four percent was cropland, 19 percent pasture and range, 32 percent woodland, and 15 percent miscellaneous. SMSA's comprise 13 percent of the land area of the 48 contiguous states; but 17 percent of the farms, 14 percent of cropland harvested, and 21 percent of the value of farm products sold were reported from these areas in 1969. Overall, the proportion of the total value of farm products sold in SMSA's decreased slightly between 1959 and 1969. Of the eight highest valued crops, the proportion produced within SMSA's increased for four crops and decreased for the others during this period.

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