Trending towards Oblivion: Endangered Towns and Their Demographic Landscape on the Great Plains

Laszlo J. Kulcsar, Kansas State University
William Wetherholt, Kansas State University

Population decline has long been the dominant trend in the rural counties of the Great Plains. The demographic landscape, especially if viewed from a historical perspective, is littered with ghost towns. People assume however that most of these are products of pre-1960s era, and if towns had survived until today they would continue to do so in the foreseeable future. This study investigates the demographic landscape of places with less than 100 people in the Great Plains. Using census data between 1960 and 2010, our goal is to provide a detailed demographic and socioeconomic profile of places that are very close to become the next wave of ghost towns. Using this profile, we conduct a path analysis to see the demographic future of these places and make preliminary predictions about demographic conditions that are likely to put other places on the same trajectory.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 8