The Boom-Bust-Recovery Cycle: Dynamics of Change in Community Satisfaction and Social Integration in Delta, Utah*


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    Research sponsored in part by Project No. UTA 839 of Utah Agricultural Experiment Station, Utah State University, and funding by the Women's Research Institute at Brigham Young University. We thank Reed Geertsen and Richard Krannich for use of their data. Direct correspondence to: Ralph B. Brown, Box 2034 JFSB, Department of Sociology, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 84602,


Abstract  To better understand the long-term effects of rapid boom growth, we reexamine four subjective indicators of community satisfaction and social integration in Delta, Utah, that were originally analyzed by Brown, Geertsen, and Krannich in 1989. With 24 years of longitudinal data, we find that within approximately a decade of the boom period three of the four indicators returned to or exceeded pre-boom levels. We argue that we need to modify our theories and vocabulary regarding boomtowns to account for a “boom-bust-recovery cycle” that better takes into consideration the dynamic nature of communities and their residents and how they subjectively adjust to shifts in objective conditions.