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Abstract

This study examines regional economic growth and development in Pennsylvania, with major emphasis on rural areas. The overall results indicate that many of the smaller rural areas in Pennsylvania are viable economic entities. The findings generally support the theory of balanced economic growth. The rate of population growth from 1960 to 1970 was used to examine the economic activity of central place areas. A central place area consists of a central place (borough or city) plus its complementary or hinterland area. The results obtained, using multiple regression analysis, indicate that the percentage of workers employed in manufacturing durable goods (such as furniture, machinery, and metal products) and manufacturing nondurable goods (such as food, apparel, rubber, and plastic products) industries was highly correlated with the rate of an area's population growth. It was also found that the higher rates of population growth occurred in the smaller rural areas, which tended to attract the low-wage, nondurable goods industries. The economic activity of the areas oriented to the natural resource based industries of agriculture and mining were also examined. The agricultural areas were found to be scattered through the State; population was growing in these areas. Conversely, mining areas were concentrated in the northeast and west-central parts of the State; these areas were losing population.

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