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The impact of European demographic trends on regional and urban development

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Archívum: MTA Könyvtár
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Type = Article
The impact of European demographic trends on regional and urban development
Gerőházi, Éva
Hegedüs, József
Szemző, Hanna
Tomay, Kyra
Tosics, Iván
Gere, László
GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography / gazdasági-társadalmi földrajz
GF1 Settlement geography / településföldrajz
H Social Sciences (General) / társadalomtudomány általában
Tartalmi leírás:
This article is based on the publication ?The impact of European demographic trends on
regional and urban development? written by the same authors, issued and prepared within
the framework of the Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union,
commissioned by the Ministry of Interior, Hungary. Since public awareness of
demographic changes is relatively low, despite the very serious consequences they can
have in a few decades, it was of special political importance to put the issue of urban
demographic trends on the agenda of the Hungarian Presidency. The discussion started
during the first half of 2011 seems to have been continued and the following presidencies
have decided to further elaborate on the issue, focusing on its consequences on the
common Cohesion and Immigration Policies. The current article is an extract of a
background study whose aim was to investigate the demographic processes and their
consequences on decision making within the European Union from an urban perspective.
Consequently, the article focuses on the demographic processes and policies inside the
European Union (in some cases the study refers to the ESPON area that consists of the
EU and Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Lichtenstein), specialising on urban areas in
which not only the towns and cities, but also their urban agglomerations are included.
Europe is facing serious challenges in the forthcoming decades that may thoroughly
modify its current economic and social structure as well as its developmental preferences.
Besides globalisation, climate change and the need for a secure, sustainable and
competitive energy supply, demographic challenges will present one of the main sources
of concern for Europe, and they will be of particular relevance for European cities and
regions. There are wide variations in demographic dynamics and patterns between and
within Member States, regions and cities across the EU. Some regions and cities are
particularly exposed to decline with the outward migration of young people, a shrinking
working age population and an ageing population that results in a worsening dependency
ratio. These areas will face difficulties in financing essential public goods and services,
such as health care, long-term care, housing and transport infrastructure in a sustainable
manner in order to avoid increasing social polarisation and poverty. Other cities, in
particular metropolitan areas, will gain population with a high inward migration. A
resulting challenge for these areas will be the integration of migrants into the labour force
and society as a whole, as well as the adaptation of infrastructure for high population
In all its complexity, demographic change is likely to reinforce disparities between
and within European regions and cities. Demographic dynamics will determine the economic growth potential of our cities and regions as well as the risk of social
polarisation and pressure on the environment. The impact of demographic change will
transform the age and employment structure of European societies, raising important
issues of both economic efficiency and intergenerational equality. Correspondingly, the
most important recent strategic document of the EU, the ?Europe 2020 Strategy for smart,
sustainable and inclusive growth? identifies demographic change among the key
challenges facing Europe, and calls for specific action to be taken under several of its
flagship initiatives.
In the following, we will first give an overview of the main demographic trends
affecting Europe, then focus on the territorial differences across European countries and
regions. After presenting this broad picture, we will specifically dwell on the
demographic issues of urban areas: shrinking, ageing, migratory trends, and integration
of migrant ethnic minorities. Lastly, we summarise the main trends on a local level and
the possible strategies to mitigate and adapt to the described phenomena
Gerőházi, Éva and Hegedüs, József and Szemző, Hanna and Tomay, Kyra and Tosics, Iván and Gere, László (2011) The impact of European demographic trends on regional and urban development. Regional Statistics : journal of the Hungarian Central Statistical Office, 1. pp. 80-98. ISSN 2063-9538