Faculty & Staff

Christiane von Reichert

Christiane von Reichert

Professor of Geography

Office: Stone Hall 210
Email: c.vonreichert@umontana.edu
Fax: (406) 243-4840
Office Hours:

Monday 10.30-11.30 am and 1-2 pm; Wednesday 11-11.30 am and 1-2 pm, F 10.30-11.30 am, and by arrangement.

Personal Website

Current Position

  • Professor of Geography


  • GPHY 121S - Introduction to Human Geography
  • GPHY 323S - Economic Geography of Rural Areas 
  • GPHY 423 - Migration and Population Change
  • GPHY 468/469 - Community and Regional Analysis (with laboratory)
  • GPHY 486/489 - Transport, Planning, and GIS (with laboratory)
  • GPHY 497 - Workshop in Teaching Geography
  • GPHY 500 - Colloquium
  • GPHY 504 - Introduction to Geographical Research
  • GPHY 505 - Research Design
  • GPHY 515 - Advanced Human Geography: Migration
  • GPHY 515 - Advanced Human Geography: Rural America

Personal Summary

I am a population and economic geographer with research interests in rural communities. My research focuses on what draws people to rural places and how communities and landscapes change as populations grow or decline. I use both quantitative (survey-based) and qualitative (interview-based) research methodologies.

With prior research, I examined migration to areas with high natural amenities. I have also a strong interest in rural areas experiencing population loss, such as many smaller communities of the Great Plains.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, I studied rural return migration: I traveled to numerous rural communities nation-wide to conduct interviews and gain an understanding of why people move back to their rural home town and how their return impacts their community.

I currently collaborate with the University of Montana’s Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities (previously: Rural Institute on Disabilities) to better understand the spatial distribution of disability, in particular the concentrations of persons with impairments in rural areas. 

Much of my research stems from a concern for geographic inequality, for instance by how the location of a place affects access of people to services and quality of life.


  • Ph.D., Geography, University of Idaho, 1992
  • M.S., Economics and Regional Science, Christian-Albrechts Universität Kiel, Germany, 1981
  • B.S., Economics, Bayerische Julius-Maximilians Universität Würzburg, Germany, 1976

Research Interests

Rural Communities, Socio-demographic Analysis, Community Change and Planning, U.S. Migration, Return Migration, Marginalized Populations, Rural Economies, Qualitative and Quantitative Methods, Transportation GIS


  • Geography of Disability: Senior analyst of competitive research grant to the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities (formerly: Rural Institute on Disability), University of Montana (funded by NIDRR, 2013-2018)
  • Return Migration to Geographical Disadvantaged Rural U.S. Communities: Principal Investigator of competitive research grant to the Department of Geography, University of Montana (funded by CSREES/USDA, 2007-2011)
  • Northern Great Plains Population Project: Analyst (funded by congressional appropriation, 2001)
  • Population Dynamics in Montana: Analyst (funded by Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation, 1998)

Field of Study

Rural Communities, Socio-demographic Analysis, U.S. Migration/Rural Return Migration, Economic Geography, Transportation GIS.

Selected Publications

Peer-reviewed Publications

  • von Reichert, Christiane, John Cromartie and Ryan Arthun. 2014. "Impacts of Return Migration on Rural U.S. Communities." Rural Sociology. 79(2), 200-226. DOI: 10.1111/ruso.12024
  • von Reichert, Christiane, John Cromartie and Ryan Arthun. 2014. "Reasons for Returning and Not Returning to Rural U.S. Communities. The Professional Geographer. 66(1), 58-72. DOI: 10.1080/00330124.2012.725373
  • von Reichert, Christiane, John B. Cromartie and Ryan O. Arthun. 2013. "Intergenerational Relationships and Rural Return Migration." Pp. 251-71 in Rural Aging in 21st Century America, edited by N. Glasgow and H. E. Berry. Dordrecht,The Netherlands: Springer.
  • Wall, Tamara and Christiane von Reichert. 2013. "Divorce as an Influence in Return Migration to Rural Areas." Population, Space and Place 19(3):350-363  doi: 10.1002/psp.1719.
  • von Reichert, Christiane, John B. Cromartie and Ryan O. Arthun. 2011. "Returning Home and Making a Living: Employment Strategies of Return Migrants to Rural U.S. Communities ". Journal of Rural and Community Development 6(2):35-52.
  • von Reichert, Christiane. 2006. "Community Evaluation and Migration Intentions: The Role of Attraction and Aversion to Place on the Northern Great Plains” " Pp. 333-56 in Population Change and Rural Society, edited by W. Kandel and D. L. Brown. Berlin: Springer.
  • von Reichert, Christiane. 2002. "Returning and New Montana Migrants: Socio-Economic and Motivational Differences." Growth and Change 33(1):133-51. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2478.2001.00283.x.
  • von Reichert, Christiane, William H. McBroom, Fred W. Reed and Paul B. Wilson. 1995. "Access to Health Care and Travel for Birthing: Native American-White Differentials in Montana." Geoforum 26(3):297-308.
  • von Reichert, Christiane and Gundars Rudzitis. 1994. "Rent and Wage Effects on the Choice of Amenity Destinations of the Labor Force and Non-Labor Force.". Journal of Regional Science 34(3):445-55.
  • von Reichert, Christiane and Gundars Rudzitis. 1992. "Multinomial Logistic Models Explaining Income Changes of Migrants to High-Amenity Counties." The Review of Regional Studies 22(1):25-42.


Edited Chapters, Monographs, Proceedings, Reports

  • Cromartie, John, Christiane von Reichert, and Ryan Arthun. 2015. Factors Affecting Former Residents Returning to Rural Communities. Economic Research Report 185. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service
  • Spielman, Kimberly and Christiane von Reichert. 2009. Food Supply Chains and Food Miles. An Analysis of Selected Conventional, Non-Local Organic, and Other-Alternative Foods Sold in Missoula, Montana. : Thesis published by VDM Publishing.
  • von Reichert, Christiane. 2007. "U.S. Population Dynamics: Heartlands-Mountains Contrasts." Pp. 348-55 in IIIrd  International Scientific Conference on American Studies, November 3-5, 2006. Akaki Tsereteli State University, Kutaisi, Georgia.
  • von Reichert, Christiane. 1998. "Who Are the Migrants and Why Do They Come? Analysis of Survey Data Focusing on Return and New Migrants to Montana." Research report commissioned by the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation. Department of Geography, The University of Montana, Missoula, MT.
  • von Reichert, Christiane. 1998. "Montana’s Changing Migration Patterns.". Research report commissioned by the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation. Department of Geography, The University of Montana, Missoula, MT.



  • Ruffatto Memorial Award  2013
  • Visiting Research Scholar - Economic Research Service 2011
  • International Visiting Scholar, Georgia, Caucasus 2006
  • Faculty Development Award 2003
  • Engagement Award 2002
  • Diane A. Haynes Award 1992
  • Faculty Excellence Award 1989

Specialized Skills

Rural Communities and Landscapes, Socio-demographic Analysis, Community Change and Planning, Rural Return Migration, Rural Economies and Livelihoods, Qualitative and Quantitative Methods, Transportation GIS.

Home Department

Department of Geography 

Area of Expertise

Return Migration; Rural Areas; Socio-demographic Analysis

Teaching Experience

With my teaching, I support the Community and Environmental Planning option, the Cartography & GIS option, and the General Geography option of our programs

International Experience

I was born and raised in Germany and have traveled extensively (Europe, Southeast Asia, the South Pacific/Oceania, Central and South America, Turkey and its neighbors. I spent Fall 2006 as a Visiting Scholar in Georgia, Caucasus, to offer workshops on 'Teaching Geography.'


  • Association of American Geographers AAG
  • Rural Sociological Society RSS
  • Montana Association of GIS Professionals MAGIP
  • Gamma Theta Upsilon Geographical Honor Society  GTU


Travel, gardening, camping, healthful living