Relationships between demographic change and economic restructuring in rural Europe at the beginning of the 21st century

Andrew K. Copus, UHI Millennium Institute
Mats Johansson, Royal Institute of Technology

This paper draws heavily upon the EDORA project (European Development Opportunities for Rural Areas), part of the ESPON 2013 programme. Two regional typologies play a central role in the analysis: The first is a typology of demographic change, developed in the context of both the ESPON programme, and DG Agriculture’s SERA (Study on Employment in Rural Areas) project. The second is a typology of economic restructuring, developed in EDORA. These two typologies will be used as a framework within which to explore patterns of demographic change within rural areas at different stages in the process of restructuring, from agrarian economies through to the New Rural Economy, with its orientation towards market service activities. Disaggregation of the demographic typology into its three components will allow the roles of natural increase, migration and total population change in different kinds of rural areas, to be distinguished. The paper will conclude with a discussion of the implications of the findings in terms of rural development theory, and in terms of options for rural cohesion policy.

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Presented in Session 79: EU Session on rural regions - Demographic and economic change in the 21st century