Migration and Ageing in Expanding and Shrinking European Regions

  • Mats JohanssonEmail author
  • Pia Nilsson
  • Hans Westlund
Part of the Advances in Spatial Science book series (ADVSPATIAL)


Europe is in a phase of vast transition regarded both from a demographic and economic-structural point of view. Studies have shown that demographic development differs a lot when comparing urban regions with more sparsely populated peripheral regions. These diverging patterns are shown to be especially strong in the northern and eastern parts of Europe where a redistribution of people contributes to a concentration process to the metropolitan or big city areas as well as to shrinkage and depopulating of rural and peripheral areas. This paper empirically addresses these differing demographic development paths by analyzing the influence of key underlying demographic factors on population change across European regions. For the stated purpose the paper applies typologies based on both economic and demographic structure and a cross-regional regression model. The economic-structural typology developed within the ESPON/EDORA-project is used to describe and analyze economic-structural factors and a typology based on demographic characteristics that classify regions as either shrinking or expanding in terms of population is used in the empirical assessment. Findings indicate that age structure is of importance with regard to population changes and there exists an east-west divide between the growing west and declining east where the declining sectors are more frequent. It is also shown that large and densely populated regions have better preconditions for growth and fewer risks for shrinking than small and sparsely populated ones.


Shrinkage Migration East-west divide Typologies Economic-structural factors Ageing Human capital Density and size-effects 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)StockholmSweden
  2. 2.Jönköping UniversityJönköpingSweden

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