Charles Elson Lively

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Charles Elson Lively
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Born(1890-09-29)September 29, 1890
Marshall County, West Virginia, United States
DiedDecember 28, 1968(1968-12-28) (aged 78)
Columbia, Missouri, United States
Academic background
Alma mater
  • University of Nebraska (Master of Arts) (Bachelor of Arts)
  • University of Minnesota (Doctor of Philosophy
Academic work
Sub-disciplineRural Sociology
  • Ohio State University
  • University of Missouri

Charles Elson Lively (September 29, 1890 – December 28, 1968) was an early pioneering contributor to rural sociology. He conducted research into rural habits and ways of life in rural communities throughout Ohio and Missouri. During his tenure at the University of Missouri, he became increasingly interested in rural healthcare and demographics.

Early life

Little is known or published of Lively's early life. He was born on September 29, 1890 in Marshall County, West Virginia. As a young adult, he received his Bachelor's of Arts and Master of Arts from the University of Nebraska in 1917 and 1918, respectively. [1]


Charles Elson Lively, or C.E. Lively, as he came to be known, worked as an instructor at the University of Minnesota from 1919-1921. In 1921, he took a job as a professor of rural economics at The Ohio State University. During his time at Ohio State, Lively would be granted a PhD from the University of Minnesota in 1931. In 1925, Lively was admitted to the American Association of University Professors.

As a professor of rural economics at Ohio State, Lively published over a dozen reports on rural Ohio. These ranged from studies into the mobility patterns of young adults in rural communities, to the economic state of agricultural counties. This work was especially important given the upheaval of the Great Depression. So important were Lively's works on rural economics and sociology, that he was a founding member of the Rural Sociological Society. [1]

As part of his work in demographics, Lively explored rates of survival and migration surrounding rural communities through his work Rural Migration in the United States. He developed methods of measuring such phenomena that have been widely used and referenced by rural researchers. [2] He can be credited with fostering an understanding of patterns of migration, and spatial relationships between rural areas and metropolitan centers. Lively deeply explored the idea that social patterns and organizations had a significant effect on the evolution of rural communities, and the effect of farming technology on families and communities. [3] Of unique importance was who migrated from rural areas to urban areas, and whether those individuals were more or less desirable.[4].

In 1938, C.E. Lively took a job as professor and head of the Department of Rural Sociology at the University of Missouri, a post he would occupy until his retirement in 1961. There, he expended the departmental offerings and emphasized research, hiring many professors as a result. It was during his time at the University of Missouri that Lively would be elected President of the Rural Sociological Society, serving from 1942 to 1943. He would also be awarded the W. Scott Johnson Award in 1961, in honor of his distinguished service to public health in the State of Missouri. [5]

Personal life

Lively was married to Ethel Dell Johnston.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Duncan, Otis Durant (June 1969). "In Memoriam". Rural Sociology. 34 (2): 294. Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  2. Hamilton, Horace C.; Henderson, P.M. (1944). "Use of the Survival Rate Method in Measuring Net Migration". Journal of the American Statistical Association. 39 (226): 197–206. doi:10.1080/01621459.1944.10500676. Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  3. Field, Donald; Voss, Paul R.; Kuczenski, Tracy K.; Hammer, Roger B.; Radeloff, Volker C. (2003). "Reaffirming Social Landscape Analysis in Landscape Ecology: A Conceptual Framework". Society and Natural Resources. 16 (4): 349–361. doi:10.1080/08941920390178900. Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  4. Vold, George B. (1941). "Crime in City and Country Areas". The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 217 (1): 38–45.
  5. University of Missouri - Columbia, Agricultural Experiment Station (June 1988). A History of Rural Sociology (1 ed.). Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri - Columbia, College of Agriculture. pp. 1–17. Retrieved 29 September 2021.

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