EPRSauthor By / February 16, 2014

Cities and demography

Demographic changes, population migration, urban shrinkage, integration of migrants, adaptation of infrastructure to population’s growth are challenges Europe’s cities will…

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Demographic changes, population migration, urban shrinkage, integration of migrants, adaptation of infrastructure to population’s growth are challenges Europe’s cities will have to tackle in the future.

This Keysource includes selected reports, studies and analyses as well as statistical data on demographic change in EU’s cities.


Demographic Challenges for European Regions: The Role of the EU’s Cohesion Policy / briefing by Guillaume Ragonnaud, posted on 3 February 2010, 6 p.

The demographic structure of the EU is changing dramatically. EU regions are affected mainly by ageing, popu­lation decline and migratory move­ments. However, the demographic situations vary considerably across the EU and within Mem­ber States. The impacts of demographic change are pervasive. For instance, labour markets, in­frastructure, the healthcare sector or vo­ting patterns may be affected.


Cities and demography
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Demographic changes, housing policies and urban planning: examples of situations and strategies in Nordic municipalities / Lukas Smas, Christian Fredricsson, Haukur Claessen. Nordregio Working Paper, no 4, 2013, 48 p.

Demographic changes, such as urbanisation, ageing populations, and international migration, have significant effects on local development. This study examines the relationship between demographic changes and housing, focusing on different local demographic situations and related housing and planning strategies in the Nordic states. There seems to be a preference for attracting younger people rather than accommodating elderly populations, and a focus on development strategies rather than adaptive tactics. (Source: Nordregio)

From crisis to choice: re-imagining the future in shrinking cities / by Dr Hans Schlappa and Professor William J V Neill, URBACT, May 2013, 56 p. ok

This report calls for a new realism with regard to urban regeneration in cities affected by shrinkage. It focuses on the development of sustainable strategy options for shrinking cities. It also try to identify actions, process requirements and good practice in re-imaging a sustainable future.

Why Do Fertility Levels Vary between Urban and Rural Areas? / by Hill Kulu. In: Regional Studies, vol. 47, no 6, 2013, pp. 895-912

This study examines the causes of fertility variation across settlements using data from Finland. Analysis shows that fertility levels are the highest in small towns and rural areas and the lowest in the capital city, as expected. The socio-economic characteristics of women and selective migrations account for only a small portion of fertility variation across settlements. Housing conditions explain a significant portion of urban–rural fertility variation for the first birth, but little variation for the second and the third births. The analysis suggests that there are also significant contextual effects.

Urban-to-Rural Population Growth Linkages: Evidence from OECD TL3 Regions / P. Veneri and V. Ruiz , OECD Regional Development Working Papers, 2013/03, 20 p.

The objective of this paper is to better understand how the population growth rates of rural regions are affected by their closeness to urban regions and by the economic performance of the latter.

Demographic Change and Local Development Shrinkage, Regeneration and Social Dynamics / by Cristina Martinez-Fernandez, Naoko Kubo, Antonella Noya and Tamara Weyman, OECD, 28 Nov 2012, 310 p.

This report is discussing cases from 20 countries focusing on community shrinkage and sustainability, regeneration strategies for communities, and the social dynamics of demographic change.

The impact of European demographic trends on regional and urban development: Synthesis report / Issued within the framework of the Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Budapest, April 2011, 154 p.

Demographic change is one of the most serious challenges Europe will face in the upcoming decades. The aim of the report is to give a broad overview of the complexity of the problems related to demographic change, paying special attention to their territorial dimension and to the question of what the local (urban) level can do to influence demographic change in a favourable way or at least to accommodate its consequences.

Residential change and demographic challenge : the inner city of East Central Europe in the 21st century / by Annegret Haase. Farnham: Ashgate, 2011, 355 p. (available in the Library collection – make a reservation here)

This book is based on the long term research on the development of cities in Poland and Czech Republic. It asses how the demographic change interrelates with urban processes. It tries to identify how downsizing of households, ageing and migration of heterogeneous social groups impact on the shape and use of urban and housing space. It focuses on large cities in Poland and Czech Republic which are non-capital cities and the inner parts of these cities.

Does population decline lead to economic decline in EU rural regions? / By Zuzana Gáková and Lewis Dijkstra. Regional Focus, no 1, 2010, 8 p.

This paper sets out to examine correlations between population decline and economic decline in rural regions. It concludes that whilst more developed regions attract more people, a decline in population does not necessarily lead to less development. Rural regions being less developed attract less people from other regions, but only a few regions with population decline also experience economic decline.


Focus on European cities In: Eurostat regional yearbook 2013 / Eurostat, October 2013, pp 200-216.

This chapter of the regional yearbook presents indicators reflecting the structure of the population within cities and urban areas. The indicators presented are just a few examples of the wide range of data available from the Urban Audit.

Demographic Risk Atlas / Econsense

The Demographic Risk Atlas deals with population ageing and shrinking in cities, regions and countries of the European Union. It offers a comparative overview of demographic change in the European Union between 1990 and 2030, pointing to the similarities it presents in some respects and the high diversity it shows in others, particularly on the regional level.

Demographia World Urban Areas (World Agglomerations) / Demographia, March 2013, 175 p.

This report contains population, land area and population density for all 875 identified urban areas (urban agglomerations or urbanized areas) in the world with 500,000 or more population as of the volume date. The total population of these urban areas is estimated at 1.86 billion, 49 percent of the world urban population (2013).

European cities – demographic challenges / Eurostat, Statistics explained, updated 21 November 2011

The EU’s sustainable development strategy aims at ‘continuous improvement of the quality of life and well-being in the European regions and cities. This article presents statistical data on the sustainable development of cities, focusing on the demographic aspects.

Ageing in the European Union: where exactly? / Eurostat, Statistics in Focus no 26, 2010, 16 p.

The European Union is ageing as a result of two developments: firstly, the number of people aged 65 years and over is increasing and, secondly, the number of children (age group 0-14 years) is decreasing. However, the Member States, the different types of areas (rural, intermediate, urban) and the different NUTS3 areas (districts) show considerable variations. Although in 2001 rural areas had on average an older population than intermediate or urban areas, from 2001 to 2006 the share of the old age group grew faster in urban areas.

Europe’s largest cities: Cities ranked 1 to 100 / City Mayors

This table provides population figures for cities with legally defined boundaries, with recognised urban status and with its own local government. The figures do not take into account suburban settlements or other heavily populated areas outside city boundaries. Some of the population figures for smaller towns in the United Kingdom include neighbouring rural areas if they and the towns share local government.

EU programmes and projects

DEMIFER – Demographic and Migratory Flows Affecting European Regions and Cities / Espon, 2013

This project deals with the effects of demographic and migratory flows on European regions and cities and examines the implications for regional competitiveness and European cohesion.

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