Theory, Methods and Public Policy
New Horizons in Environmental Economics series
Edited by Gary Paul Green, Steven C. Deller and David D. Marcouiller
Chapter 11: Recreation, Amenity Migration and Urban Proximity
Kenneth M. Johnson and Susan I. Stewart Recent migration trends fueled in part by the nation’s love of forests, lakes and other natural resources are transforming the rural landscape. The US population is deconcentrating. Such deconcentration is reﬂected both in the tendency of the population to sprawl outward from large, denselysettled urban cores, and in the recent rapid population gains in many nonmetropolitan areas. Growth has been particularly rapid in areas endowed with amenity resources – natural resources that are valued for their recreational and esthetic qualities. Amenity resources have been recognized for their inﬂuence on migration patterns for some time (Marans and Wellman 1978). Nonmetropolitan recreation and amenity counties spread across the country have consistently produced signiﬁcantly higher rates of inmigration than other counties (Beale and Johnson 1998; Johnson and Beale 2002; McGranahan 1999). The individual decisions and behaviors behind migration to recreation and amenity counties, termed amenity migration, are not yet well understood. Preliminary research suggests that the propensity to migrate is much higher among those who have vacationed and owned second homes in an area. Once visitors discover an appealing area, some follow a progression of decisions; ﬁrst making return visits, then using or owning a second home in the area, and ﬁnally migrating to establish their primary residence there (Stewart 1994). Prior research found that 30 percent of second-home owners surveyed in northern lower Michigan were likely or very likely to retire to their second home within ten years (Stynes et al. 1997). Secondhome...
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