Linking baby boomer and hispanic migration streams into rural America - A multi-scaled approach

Peter B. Nelson, Ahn Wei Lee, Lise Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Dramatic transformations in the nature of urban economies across the globe have led to the arrival of linked migration streams into destination 'global cities'. This paper extends these theorisations of linked migration streams into the rural context by examining the overlap between baby boomer and Hispanic migration streams into non-metropolitan counties and across spatial scales. We argue that boomers arriving in non-metropolitan destinations are likely to stimulate demand in personal and household services, construction, restaurants, and other service sectors, and such demands are akin to those precipitated by economic restructuring in global cities. Just as immigrants flock to global cities to fill labour demand in burgeoning service sectors, we argue Latinos are arriving in certain non-metropolitan destinations in response to growing service demands brought about by recently arriving boomers. Our exploratory analysis documents the extent to which these migration streams converge in rural America, and describes the residential geographies that emerge in the wake of such migration. The analysis identifies 75 counties in which these migration streams overlap, and these counties are distinct in terms of geographical distribution and economic structure. Within these counties, however, there is considerable residential separation between these two populations, leading to new questions concerning community integration and fragmentation in these increasingly diverse non-metropolitan destinations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-293
Number of pages17
JournalPopulation, Space and Place
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Baby boomers
  • Community change
  • Hispanic migration
  • Residential separation
  • Rural migration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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