An analysis of population and employment growth in the nonmetropolitan Rocky Mountain West, 1970-1995
AuthorVias, Alexander Carl, 1959-
AdvisorMulligan, Gordon F.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractOver the past 25 years, long-term trends in population and employment change for the US have been dramatically altered. At the regional level, areas like the Rocky Mountain West (AZ, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, UT, and WY) have seen the century-long decline in nonmetropolitan population reversed to some degree. Scholars from across the US have proposed several broad theories to explain these shifts; however, researchers based in the RMW have argued that any general theory of growth and development must be adapted to take into account the region's unique geography and history. For example, population and employment change in RMW has been more volatile and extreme due to the region's reliance on extractive industries. The purpose of this dissertation is to present preliminary findings of an investigation of population and employment change in the RMW in general, and to test the claims of regional researchers on the processes behind these changes. The ideas of these researchers are embodied in the quality-of-life model, which claims that changing residential preferences, demographic changes, and economic restructuring will benefit areas like the nonmetropolitan RMW, an area rich in amenities. Using a wide variety of tools ranging from descriptive statistics, to classification techniques, to multivariate regression models, this research measures how factors theorized to be associated with growth have increased (decreased) in importance over the 25 year span of this study. The results show that regionally-based ideas on growth have a place in helping scholars understand regional growth processes in a more reliable manner. More importantly, there is significant support for the quality-of-life model, especially the role of service industries and environmental amenities in driving regional growth. Answers to these questions will help scholars understand the extent to which national events are being restructured in regional contexts. Additionally, until these ideas are fully tested and shown to explain some of the events and underlying processes driving population and employment growth in the RMW, long-term policies designed to help plan for the continued growth of the region may be misguided and wasteful.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Geography and Regional Development