The rural renaissance of the 1970s has faded and mostly is forgotten. Replacing the modest gains and giddy expectations of that period is overwhelming evidence of a widening economic gap between metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. A significant long-term implication of divergence between urban and rural economies is that population migration flows have returned to their historic rural-to-urban pattern, ending the much publicized return to the countryside. Rural areas have been buffeted by economic, technical, and political changes beyond their control. The cumulative impact of these changes has been a deterioration of the competitive advantages of nonmetro areas. Nonmetropolitan communities have become higher cost locations due to deregulation in the financial markets and in the transportation and communication industries. The adoption of computer-aided production technologies and new organizational structures has reduced the attractiveness of rural areas as locations for both manufacturing and service activities. The chapter also presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book.