A mixture of trees and open area is most appealing

A chart showing the median metropolitan county population change, years 1970 to 2010.

The attractiveness of an area as a place to live and work depends partly on how land is used. Landscape preferences research confirms that water and varied terrain are attractive features, but also shows that scenery with a mix of forest and open country is attractive to people, much more so than scenery that is either largely treeless or extensively forested. Rural migration patterns suggest that people have followed these preferences in choosing where to live. The population of the typical nonmetro county with between 60 and 70 percent of its land are covered by trees grew more than other nonmetro counties over the 1970-2010 period--increasing by nearly 50 percent. This chart is from the Natural Amenities topic page on the ERS website, updated May 26, 2012.

Download larger size chart (409 pixels by 320, 96 dpi)