Counter-Urbanization? is the movement of population and economic activity away from urban areas. The push factors include: high land values, restricted sites for all types of development, high local taxes, congestion, and pollution. The pull factors offered by small towns are just the reverse: cheap, available land, clean, quiet surroundings, and high amenity. Improvements in transport and communications have also lessened the attractiveness of urban centers, and commuters are often willing to trade off increased travel times for improved amenity. Counter urbanization is a demographic and social process whereby people move from urban areas to rural areas. It first took place as a reaction to inner-city deprivation and overcrowding. Initial study of counter urbanization was carried out by human geographer Brian Berry. Furthermore, with the ageing of populations in the West, many no longer need to travel to work. Counter urbanization results in part from the rapid expansion of suburbs and the rise in developing countries. However, most counter-urbanization shows genuine migration from cities and suburbs to small towns and rural communities.

History and Present Times

Suburbanization accelerated in the twentieth century, pushed forward by the technological advancements such as the trolley and later the automobile. Some of the migration to suburbs resulted from racial and cultural insecurities, “white flight” (the migration of white families from cities in the wake of school desegregation, along with redlining and zoning, which began in the mid-1950s. As of 2002, many suburbanites no longer commuted to the city at all, as corporate headquarters have followed them beyond the edge of the city. In 1950, 23 percent of the population lived in the suburbs; and in 1998, 50 percent of the population live in the suburbs. Counter urbanization has replaced urbanization as the dominant force changing the nation's settlement patterns.

Like suburbanization, people migrate from urban to rural areas for lifestyle reasons. People are pulled into the idea of rural areas by the prospect of swapping the frantic pace of urban life for the opportunity to live on a farm. However, most of the emigrants who move to the farms do not earn their living from agriculture. Instead, they work in nearby factories, small town shops, or other services. Many of the industry jobs the service sector jobs such as the factories are no longer competitive in the rapidly changing global economy and global market. The economy of many rural areas has also been hurt badly by poor agricultural conditions. The price of farm products has declined, and many farmers have gone bankrupt. Although farmers constitute a small percentage of the labor force, they play an important role in the economy of rural areas.

Those who write about nineteenth and early twentieth-century industrial urbanization, the essence was size, density, and heterogeneity. Urbanization is a process of population concentration. It implies a movement from a state of less concentration to a state of more concentration. But as we have just seen, since 1970 American metropolitan regions have grown less rapidly than the nation, and have actually lost population to nonmetropolitan territory.


The process involves the moving of the population away from urban areas such as towns and cities to a new town, a new estate, a commuter town or a village. The first two of these destinations were often encouraged by government schemes whereas the latter two were generally the choice of more middle class, socially mobile persons from their own prerogative. With the improvement of inner city transport infrastructure, and more sustainable public transport, people no-longer have to live close to their work, and so can easily commute each day.

Several types of Counter-Urbanization?

There are several if not different types of counter urbanization which each is an expression of contemporary urbanization policy: the individualistic decentralization that has culminated in the decreasing size, decreasing density and increasing homogeneity of cities and the more ruralized life styles of the more liberal capitalist states. These forms of counter urbanization have been joined with attempts at decolonization in the Third and Fourth Worlds. As the new industrial powers grew in size and influence, they reached overseas for guaranteed supplies of raw materials and monopoly markets, producing direct political control of much of the rest of the globe.

Factors of moving

Many factors can come in to account when someone decides to move from an urban area to a rural area including; housing density, housing prices, pollution levels (health afflictions), crime levels, peaceful retirement, and a wish to improve quality of life (S of L). Developments in rural electrification and rural Internet bring to rural areas some of the amenities of urbanity; thus eliminating one of the obstacles preventing some people from moving to a more rural setting.

. Dr. Brian J.L. Berry is the proposer of the concept of counter-urbanization