Thinking spatially: a demographic classification of European regions

Ramon Bauer, University of Vienna
Heinz Fassmann, University of Vienna

Spatial demography does not often play a leading role at the stage of population studies, as spatial thinking per se is not an exclusive concern of social scientists. Without a spatial thinking, we miss visual power, spatial observatory investigation, and understanding of the impacts that space can have on societies and individuals (CALDAS DE CASTRO 2007). There has been considerable interest among demographers in cross-national comparative studies, but only little research was done in cross-regional demographic analysis. This paper is looking beyond the horizon of the state of demography of nation states and focuses on smaller spatial aggregations within a supra-national scale, i.e. regions of the European Union at NUTS 2 level. The European Union’s Community Policies identified the ongoing demographic changes as one of the main future challenges in the context of social and economic cohesion (EC 2008). Therefore, it is necessary to identify types of regions that share common development challenges and are affected most (positively or negatively) by certain demographic structures, trends and perspectives. In order to approach the question of “how the demographic development, i.e. natural development of population as well as migration, will affect different types of regions and cities?” we developed a typology of the demographic status of European regions and used the classification achieved by cluster analysis as a starting point for analysing the European Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS). For policy makers and researchers interested in regional demographic and socio-economic differences, this information might be a useful addition to perspectives (often) focused exclusively on the state of nation states.

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Presented in Session 6: Policy issues