The Relationship between Organic Acreage and Metropolitan Demography

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Student Presentation

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Faculty Sponsor

Michail Fragkias


This research tests whether a relationship exists between agricultural production choices and the urban demographics. Do people in rural communities receive information and change behaviors based on urban culture? Do they observe and respond to demographic shifts or are they socially disconnected from cities? We compare differences in organic production relative to total agricultural production to a set of urban demographics as well as indicators for changes in agricultural production to changes in urban demographics. After specifying an equation for the non-price component of the reduced from supply equation for organic agricultural production, we use a dataset of U.S. urban center demographics and rural agricultural production statistics to determine which demographics are significantly related to organic production. We test income, education, age, ethnicity, and geographic coefficients against percentages of organic production and acreage in transition to organic production. Our findings suggest median household income, geographical region, and preschool enrollment relate to organic production. Preschool enrollment is found to be negatively related to organic production (likely a proxy for other factors) as is location in the Midwest or South. Comparing our transitional data we also find changes in high school completion rates among 18-24 year olds negatively related to organic production.

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