Counterurbanization, or de-urbanization, is a demographic and social process whereby people move from urban areas to rural areas. It is, like suburbanization, inversely related to urbanization. It first occurred as a reaction to inner-city deprivation.[1] More recent research has documented the social and political drivers of counterurbanization and its impacts in developing countries such as China, which are currently undergoing the process of mass urbanization.[2] It is one of the causes that can lead to shrinking cities.


Counterurbanization is the process by which people migrate from urban to rural communities, the opposite of urbanization. People have moved from urban to rural communities for various reasons, including job opportunities and simpler lifestyles. In recent years, due to technology, this process has been occurring in reverse. With new communications technology, people from rural communities can work from home because they can connect with each other via rural Internet, which means some employment opportunities no longer require moving to an urban community.[3] Counterurbanization is about people being able to explore alternatives to living in the city, creating changes in living location preferences.[4]

In past years, a multi-corporation business would use outsourcing by hiring workers in poorer countries for cheap labor. In more recent years, corporations have been using "rural sourcing which involves using small to medium sized town as a source of labor. This creates jobs in the country and also for rural communities so they do not need to move their entire family to a whole new setting and also reduces unnecessary expense for the companies. Most of the workers in these rural settings get paid less but have an option of either working from home or an office. If they were in an urban setting, the company would spend more money on an entirely new office for the urban based employees to work at.[3]

In the past, the general migration trend in the United States has been from the east to the west. Art Hall, an executive director of the Centre for Applied Economics at the University of Kansas School of Business states "California has been losing people for at least a decade ... two patterns of migration are under way in California. People are leaving the coast and moving to the Northern interior. When they leave, they tend to go places like Arizona and Nevada. So it's not a far move. And they also are going up north to Seattle and Portland. Part of the answer there is that it's just very expensive to live on the California coast."[5]

According to Hall, people have been influenced to move because of factors like climate, jobs, and tax rates. Hall also found that people who are not a part of a more stable family will tend to move more.[5] People choosing to live in rural areas have found it more beneficial because of cleaner air, peace and quiet, and lots of space. Smaller towns have also been proven to be convenient for the inhabitants.[3]

Recent data by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) shows that people are moving from big cities with populations over 4 million to much smaller cities with around 1-2 million people.[3]

The reasons that people are leaving cities for smaller cities is not the same across the globe. For Russia, jobs have not always moved to rural areas to accommodate those who want to leave the city. Rather, people find themselves having two homes, one in the city during work days and one in rural areas for days off. There is a weak infrastructure outside of cities to accommodate people who wish to completely relocate. In 2010, it was found that two-thirds of small towns are depressed, meaning that it has a large working-age population that is unemployed, and businesses are not profitable.[4]

Counterurbanization definitions vary across the world, but revolve around the central idea of physical movement from a populated location to a less populated location. Clare J.A. Mitchell, an associate professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Waterloo, published that in Europe, counterurbanization is the process of deconcentration of one area to another that is beyond suburbanization or metro decentralization. Australia views counterurbanization as the net migration downwards in a hierarchy.[6] Though many definitions exist, Mitchell states that counterurbanization is a descriptive term that describes a type of migration. Mitchell believes this phenomenon of counterurbanization to be reflective of values and ideology in people’s preferred living style thus taking into consideration not only distance traveled from the urban area but the motive. Mitchel uses the term “exurbanization” that is used in reference to those who reside in the outside perimeters of an urban city who remain closely involved through their social networks and jobs. Exurbanites typically still enjoy the benefits of modern infrastructure. Another term concerning differing motives for traveling or moving away from the city is people who are forced out of the city due to factors such as: the inability to find work, the increased cost of living, or dissatisfaction and/or conflicts with the culture of urban society. This phenomenon is “displaced urbanization”. Finally, there are those who participate in “antiurbanization”. Typically these people are motivated by a sort of rejection concerning the urban lifestyle and consumer culture. Antiurbanization is an escape for those to choose to leave and forgo the lifestyle and culture of the city. The decisive decision to move away from the city for this type of counterurbanization is usually a step toward spiritual growth and rejection of materialism. [6]

See also


  1. ^ Berry, Brian J.L. (1980). "Urbanization and Counterurbanization in the United States". The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 451: 13–20. doi:10.1177/000271628045100103.
  2. ^ Griffiths, Michael. B., Flemming Christiansen and Malcolm Chapman. (2010) 'Chinese Consumers: The Romantic Reappraisal’. Ethnography, Sept 2010, 11, 331-357.
  3. ^ a b c d Science Daily
  4. ^ a b Nefedova, T.G. (May 2016). "Urbanization, Counterurbanization, and Rural-Urban Communities Facing Growing Horizontal Mobility". Sociological Research. 55 (3): 195. doi:10.1080/10610154.2016.1245570.
  5. ^ a b "Study uncovers 'de-urbanization' of America (w/ Video)".
  6. ^ Nefedova, Pokrovskii, Treivish, T.G., N.E., A.I. (2016). "Urbanization, Counterurbanization, and Rural–Urban Communities Facing Growing Horizontal Mobility". Sociological Research. 55 (3): 195–210. doi:10.1080/10610154.2016.1245570.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)

External links

List of cities whose population has fallen under a million

This is a list of cities which have experienced significant population decline, otherwise known as shrinking cities or rust belt phenomenon. There are varying reasons for this, please see shrinking cities. For the purposes of inclusion in the list, we use data since 1900, a (city limit) population which has fallen under a million residents, having previously been over a million, with the trend not being attributable to a temporary event rather a long term trend (former million people cities). This list does not include cities which have amalgamated and/or no longer exist. Following the city name is the year of its peak population. Included are cities worldwide. Generally wars and catastrophes are a one-time event and do not constitute long term trends as populations in large cities tends to bounce back after war has ended.

Lund's Anarchist Group

Lund's Anarchist Group (Swedish: Lunds Anarkistgrupp) was a Swedish anarchist organization, founded in 1969 in the city of Lund. Its ideology was a mix of different streams of thought, including green anarchism.


An outhouse, also known by many other names, is a small structure, separate from a main building, which covers a toilet. This is typically either a pit latrine or a bucket toilet, but other forms of dry (non-flushing) toilets may be encountered. The term may also be used to denote the toilet itself, not just the structure itself.

Outhouses were in use in cities of developed countries (e.g. Australia) well into the second half of the twentieth century. They are still common in rural areas and also in cities of developing countries. Outhouses that are covering pit latrines in densely populated areas can cause groundwater pollution.

In some localities and varieties of English, particularly outside North America, the term "outhouse" refers not to a toilet, but to outbuildings in a general sense: sheds, barns, workshops, etc.


Penurbia describes country districts close to metropolitan areas in the United States.

Penurban districts look like rural areas. They are, however, heavily influenced through emigration by metropolitan settlers.

Settlers to penurbia are attracted by rural ambience. Many incomers, though, carry metropolitan ideas with them in their journeys from built up urban areas, even as they build a new-country self-conception. Consequently, penurbanites construct a unique mindset which blends an appreciation of country values with reliance on metropolitan incomes.

Shrinking cities

Shrinking cities or urban depopulation are dense cities that have experienced notable population loss. Emigration (migration from a place) is a common reason for city shrinkage. Since the infrastructure of such cities was built to support a larger population, its maintenance can become a serious concern. A related phenomenon is counter urbanization.

Steady-state economy

A steady-state economy is an economy made up of a constant stock of physical wealth (capital) and a constant population size. In effect, such an economy does not grow in the course of time. The term usually refers to the national economy of a particular country, but it is also applicable to the economic system of a city, a region, or the entire world. Early in the history of economic thought, classical economist Adam Smith of the 18th century developed the concept of a stationary state of an economy: Smith believed that any national economy in the world would sooner or later settle in a final state of stationarity.

Since the 1970s, the concept of a steady-state economy has been associated mainly with the work of leading ecological economist Herman Daly. As Daly's concept of a steady-state includes the ecological analysis of natural resource flows through the economy, his concept differs from the original classical concept of a stationary state. One other difference is that Daly recommends immediate political action to establish the steady-state economy by imposing permanent government restrictions on all resource use, whereas economists of the classical period believed that the final stationary state of any economy would evolve by itself without any government intervention.The world's mounting ecological problems have brought about a widening interest in the concept of a steady-state economy. Critics of the steady-state economy usually object to it by arguing that resource decoupling, technological development, and the unrestrained operation of market mechanisms are capable of overcoming any resource scarcity, any rampant pollution, or population overshoot. Proponents of the steady-state economy, on the other hand, maintain that these objections remain insubstantial and mistaken — and that the need for a steady-state economy is becoming more compelling every day.A steady-state economy is not to be confused with economic stagnation: Whereas a steady-state economy is established as the result of deliberate political action, economic stagnation is the unexpected and unwelcome failure of a growth economy.

An ideological contrast to the steady-state economy is formed by the concept of a post-scarcity economy.


Urbanization refers to the population shift from rural areas to urban areas, the gradual increase in the proportion of people living in urban areas, and the ways in which each society adapts to this change. It is predominantly the process by which towns and cities are formed and become larger as more people begin living and working in central areas. Although the two concepts are sometimes used interchangeably, urbanization should be distinguished from urban growth: urbanization is "the proportion of the total national population living in areas classed as urban", while urban growth refers to "the absolute number of people living in areas classed as urban". The United Nations projected that half of the world's population would live in urban areas at the end of 2008. It is predicted that by 2050 about 64% of the developing world and 86% of the developed world will be urbanized. That is equivalent to approximately 3 billion urbanites by 2050, much of which will occur in Africa and Asia. Notably, the United Nations has also recently projected that nearly all global population growth from 2017 to 2030 will be absorbed by cities, about 1.1 billion new urbanites over the next 13 years.Urbanization is relevant to a range of disciplines, including urban planning, geography, sociology, architecture, economics, and public health. The phenomenon has been closely linked to modernization, industrialization, and the sociological process of rationalization. Urbanization can be seen as a specific condition at a set time (e.g., the proportion of total population or area in cities or towns), or as an increase in that condition over time. So urbanization can be quantified either in terms of, say, the level of urban development relative to the overall population, or as the rate at which the urban proportion of the population is increasing. Urbanization creates enormous social, economic and environmental changes, which provide an opportunity for sustainability with the “potential to use resources more efficiently, to create more sustainable land use and to protect the biodiversity of natural ecosystems.”Urbanization is not merely a modern phenomenon, but a rapid and historic transformation of human social roots on a global scale, whereby predominantly rural culture is being rapidly replaced by predominantly urban culture. The first major change in settlement patterns was the accumulation of hunter-gatherers into villages many thousand years ago. Village culture is characterized by common bloodlines, intimate relationships, and communal behavior, whereas urban culture is characterized by distant bloodlines, unfamiliar relations, and competitive behavior. This unprecedented movement of people is forecast to continue and intensify during the next few decades, mushrooming cities to sizes unthinkable only a century ago. As a result, the world urban population growth curve has up till recently followed a quadratic-hyperbolic pattern.Today, in Asia the urban agglomerations of Osaka, Karachi, Jakarta, Mumbai, Shanghai, Manila, Seoul and Beijing are each already home to over 20 million people, while Delhi and Tokyo are forecast to approach or exceed 40 million people. Cities such as Tehran, Istanbul, Mexico City, São Paulo, London, New York City, Lagos and Cairo are, or soon will be, home to over 10 million people each.

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