CFAES Give Today

School of Environment and Natural Resources


Graduate Exit Seminar - Eric Swanson

Plan to join Eric Swanson's graduate exit seminar on February 6, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. via Zoom. Eric will present, "The Influence of Urban Economies on Socioeconomic Well-Being Along the Rural-Urban Continuum."


It is important to understand the spatial distribution of socioeconomic well-being in the U.S., and the disadvantage of rural areas relative to urban areas. However, substantial demographic and economic changes in the U.S. over the past several decades have redistributed both people and economic influence towards urban areas. Both rural sociology’s poverty and place framework and official rural-urban classification systems need to adapt their analyses to account for rural-urban relationships in their current context. The poverty and place framework has traditionally focused on rural socioeconomic well-being in its rural context. It emphasizes the need to understand the historical path a place has taken that has led to its current system of power relations manifested in its government, economic, and social institutions. The economically dominant influence of large cities over rural areas has been under-theorized. In this dissertation, I integrate the poverty and place framework with theories from economic geography and regional economics to account for the economically dominant influence of large cities. This provides for a more holistic approach to studying spatial patterns of socioeconomic inequality across the rural-urban continuum. I apply this approach to analyze and critique existing rural-urban classifications as well as develop a novel classification system with more nuanced categories to study places on the rural-urban boundary.

Advisors: Dr. Linda Lobao and Dr. Kerry Ard