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The Role Of Nonmetropolitan Economic Performance In Rising Per Capita Income Differences Among The States

John M. Redman, Thomas D. Rowley and John Angle ()
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John M. Redman: ERS, USDA
Thomas D. Rowley: ERS, USDA

The Review of Regional Studies, 1992, vol. 22, issue 2, 155-168

Abstract: This paper examines two phenomena of the 1980s-the rapid divergence of state per capita incomes and the generally weak performance of the rural economy-to see if and how the two are related. First, states most responsible for income divergence are identified, and several popular notions regarding the sources of growing inequality are tested. Next, the importance of relative metro/nonmetro performance to divergence is examined. A central finding is that the 1980s ended with an acute income imbalance between richer, primarily Atlantic Coast states with largely urban populations and poorer, mostly central or southeastern states, which are heavily nonmetropolitan. The nonmetro economies of these poorer states exhibited much greater structural weakness during the 1980s than did their metro counterparts. Barring a substantial decline in per capita income among the richer states, significant reduction of interstate inequality will thus require particularly strong improvement of nonmetro performance within the poorer, heavily rural states.

Date: 1992
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