CU Population Center

Institute of Behavioral Science

“Tiny Town” Project Featured in CU Boulder Annual Research Report

Image of rural America

You may be familiar with the research conducted by the “Tiny Town” team over the last year or so, which spotlights the challenges faced by America’s small rural towns and their sociodemographic patterns of change from 1980 – 2010. The interdisciplinary team includes Lori Hunter (Sociology), Myron Gutmann (History), Stefan Leyk (Geography), Dylan Connor (Geography, ASU/IBS Postdoc alum), Postdocs Cyrus Hester, Jeremiah Nieves, and Johannes Uhl, Sociology PhD student Catherine Talbot, and Taylor Jaworski (Economics).

The team’s first publication from the NICHD-funded project is available in Population Research and Policy Review. They examined distinctions between places in “community capitals” or the human, financial, physical, and social resources that shape community well-being. Results suggest little different in trends across small places regardless of metro proximity, but important distinctions in levels of “capitals”. For example, regardless of metro proximity, small town America has lower levels of human and financial capital than more urban places. Still, distinction also appears in that rural population growth has focused on high-amenity regions, bringing some increases in community capitals but potentially also exacerbating inequalities.