ABSTRACT A modification of the Boamet model of local economic change is developed that links the growth of urban nodes in functional economic regions to employment and population change in the rural hinterlands of these regions. The two-equation model uses labor market and residential zone observations that are consistent with commuter fields around each rural community in the regions studied. The model parameters are estimated for 204 Danish rural municipalities, for 3515 rural communes in six regions of Eastern France, and for 268 rural census tracts in South Carolina. Results indicate that urban nodal spread effects are often significant and tend to dominate urban backwash impacts on rural communities. Accordingly, rural communities need to be concerned with the economic fortunes of their urban nodes and with policies that affect the pattern of urban growth between urban center and the urban fringe.