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The continuing urban-rural population movement in Britain: trends, patterns, significance

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Anthony Champion



Over a quarter of a century on from the discovery of the rural population turnaround in the USA, there is a continuing debate about the nature and significance of the counterurbanisation tendency in population distribution in the Developed World (Boyle and Halfacree, 1998). Disagreements remain about the nature of the phenomenon, especially whether it is qualitatively different from suburbanisation (Champion, 2001). There is also uncertainty about its significance, notably whether it points to the likely pattern of human settlement in a post-industrial world or merely resulted from a temporary conjunction of favourable factors in the 1970s (Champion, 1998). This arises in part because of the marked variation in the direction and strength of internal migration both over time and between countries (see for instance, Frey and Johnson, 1998; Kontuly, 1998). This paper deals with the situation in Britain. It updates the picture of continuing deconcentration reported by the author on the basis of evidence for the 1980s (Champion, 1994). It also elaborates on this previous study by using more detailed data on migration to demonstrate the existence of a general 'counterurbanisation cascade' in Britain. In addition, it draws on the results of a number of surveys undertaken during the 1990s to show how prevalent is the preference for living in the countryside opposed to the largest cities.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Champion T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Espace Populations Sociétés

Year: 2001

Issue: 1-2

Pages: 37-51

Print publication date: 01/01/2001

Date deposited: 24/03/2006

ISSN (print): 0755-7809

Publisher: Université des Sciences et Technologies de Lille