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Counter-urbanization is a demographic and social process whereby people move from urban areas to rural areas. It first took place as a reaction to inner-city deprivation and overcrowding. Initial studies of counter-urbanization were carried out by human geographer Brian Berry. More recent research has documented the social and political drivers of counter-urbanization and its impacts in developing countries such as China, which are currently undergoing processes of mass urbanization. It is one of the causes that can lead to shrinking cities.
See also 
- Griffiths, Michael. B., Flemming Christiansen and Malcolm Chapman. (2010) 'Chinese Consumers: The Romantic Reappraisal’. Ethnography, Sept 2010, 11, 331-357.