Publication: World System satellites

Shaun Golding, Kenyon College Assistant Professor of Sociology, published an article, “World System satellites: Place-making and inequality during the 1990s rural migration rebound” in the Journal of Rural Studies October 2020 issue. The findings in this article offer insights for making sense of how inequality impacts rural America amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.


This paper uses urban-rural migration data from the American rural migration “rebound” to contextualize inequality through a World Systems lens. By weighting migration flows according to origin cities’ level of global economic connectivity, the 50 most highly connected “satellite” counties are identified and compared to the 50 fastest growing counties and the 50 most urbanizing counties. Two findings emerge: First, noteworthy variation exists across satellite destinations. Moving beyond the literatures on exurbanization and rural gentrification, globally connected movers catalyzed diverse patterns of economic development. Second, despite the heterogeneity of counties identified, preliminary evidence of within county inequality is apparent, suggesting that inequality is associated with global city out-migration and is, thus, worthy of future research.

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