Where one size does not fit all: small community diversity

K. Prochaska-Cue, A. Ziebarth, B. Shrewsbury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using a community classification based on key demographic and geographic factors and data from the US Census, analyses from 212 small communities indicate significant inter- and intra-state differences. The communities studied were located in two states within the North Central Region. The sample was limited to incorporated places with populations between 1000 and 2500. Several commonly-held ideas about small communities are either challenged or confirmed by this research. Similarities and differences among the communities as well as between the states support the conclusion that small communities have diverse characteristics. Not all small communities of this size are geographically isolated places with declining population. While many small communities have a large proportion of their residents age 65 or older, not all do. Finally, while most small communities are populated by large proportions of white residents, some small communities have growing minority popoulations. The diversity of small communities has substantial implications for public policy decisions such as the allocation of Community Development Block Grant funding or the distribution of services for community residents. Recommendations for future resarch directions are also presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-223
Number of pages15
JournalGreat Plains Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997


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