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Is there a hidden potential for rural population growth in Sweden?




Rural depopulation is a concern in many countries and various policy initiatives have been taken to combat such trends. This paper examines whether a hidden potential for rural population growth can be found in Sweden. If such potential exists, it implies that the development prospects for many rural areas are not as unpromising as they may seem today. If not, rapid rural depopulation can be expected and policymakers will have to increase their focus on how to lessen problems associated with population decline. In this paper we employ a combination of survey data and register data to identify the characteristics of people who have expressed a desire to move to rural areas and compare this population with those who actually do move to these areas. The results show that more people have rural residential preferences than the actual number of migrants to rural areas suggest. The findings indicate that there is a general potential for rural population growth, however, the characteristics of these two groups are similar and we can not discern any group as constituting this hidden potential. Nonetheless, we argue that this potential is unlikely to be realised in terms of rural population growth and the further implications of these findings are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Niedomysl, Thomas & Amcoff, Jan, 2010. "Is there a hidden potential for rural population growth in Sweden?," Arbetsrapport 2010:2, Institute for Futures Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifswps:2010_002
    Note: ISSN: 1652-120X ISBN: 978-91-85619-62-7

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    Cited by:

    1. Bäckman, Olof & Jakobsen, Vibeke & Lorentzen, Thomas & Österbacka, Eva & Dahl, Espen, 2011. "Dropping out in Scandinavia Social Exclusion and Labour Market Attachment among Upper Secondary School Dropouts in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden," Arbetsrapport 2011:8, Institute for Futures Studies.
    2. Ubarevi?ien?, R?ta & van Ham, Maarten & Burneika, Donatas, 2014. "Shrinking Regions in a Shrinking Country: The Geography of Population Decline in Lithuania 2001-2011," IZA Discussion Papers 8026, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item


    Rural; Population growth; Migration; Residential preferences; Sweden;

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure

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