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articles: Microregional fragmentation in a Swedish county


  • Örjan Pettersson

    () (CERUM - Centre for Regional Science, UmeåUniversity, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden)


This study of the county of Västerbotten in northern Sweden reveals significant differences in socio-economic conditions between populations living in different residential environments. A cluster analysis was performed in order to classify the nearly 500 microregions into a manageable number of groups with distinctive profiles. A seven-cluster solution contains groups ranging from remote and sparsely populated areas with poor socio- economic conditions and a large proportion of elderly to the most prosperous residential environments within the major centers. Besides high disposable incomes, the relatively wealthy areas also show high educational levels and better-than-average health status. In this way the county could be broken down into a mosaic of local housing environments with very different prerequisites for consumption and economic development. Increasingly, we find socio-economic marginality problems even within densely populated regions. The complex and dispersed pattern of disadvantaged and underprivileged residential areas all over Västerbotten indicates the difficulty in treating counties and municipalities as homogeneous regions. Our findings may have major implications for regional planning and regional policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Örjan Pettersson, 2001. "articles: Microregional fragmentation in a Swedish county," Papers in Regional Science, Springer;Regional Science Association International, vol. 80(4), pages 389-409.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:presci:v:80:y:2001:i:4:p:389-409
    Note: Received: 17 August 1997

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    Cited by:

    1. Eichhorst, Anja, 2007. "Evaluating the need assessment in fiscal equalization schemes at the local government level," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 745-770, October.
    2. del Campo, Cristina & Monteiro, Carlos M.F. & Soares, Joao Oliveira, 2008. "The European regional policy and the socio-economic diversity of European regions: A multivariate analysis," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 187(2), pages 600-612, June.

    More about this item


    Regional development; rural change; welfare; cluster analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)


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