The Nation: The Attractions of Nowhere

For many mobile Americans, it is back to the countryside. Demographer Peter Morrison of the Rand Corp. has produced statistics showing that people of all ages—no longer just young hippies—are moving from cities and suburbs to rural areas of the Dakotas, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, Vermont, upper Michigan, the Sierra foothills and the long-depressed Appalachian regions that are benefiting from the coal boom.

Ten of the 25 largest metropolitan areas have not grown in the 1970s, and others have actually declined, notably the metropolitan areas of Cleveland, Savannah, Seattle, St. Louis and Pittsburgh. Rural counties that were losing population in the 1960s...

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