Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Sociology and Rural Studies


This research project is a case study of Groton, South Dakota. The goal of the research was to determine the factors that have contributed to the growth and sustainability of a rural community in the Northern Great Plains. The research objective was to identify the factors from the perception of the community’s leaders. The key population process contributing to the growth of the community was migration. Thus Ravenstein (1889) and Lee’s (1966) push-pull theory were integrated with Flora, Flora, and Fey’s (2004) community capitals framework was a successful tool for identifying the pull factors that attract new residents to the community and also factors that serve as forces to keep residents there. Both are necessary for the community to grow. Key factors included close proximity to and relationship with a regional city, maintaining the characteristics of an attractive small town, the large number of active organizations, investment in the school system and infrastructure, and the completion of community field improvement projects.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Cities and towns -- South Dakota -- Growth -- Case studies

Community life -- Case studies

Social capital (Sociology)

Groton (S.D.)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright