Shrinking Regions in a Shrinking Country: The Geography of Population Decline in Lithuania 2001-2011
Shrinking populations have been gaining increasing attention, especially in post-socialist East and Central European countries. While most studies focus on the population decline of capital cities and their regions, much less is known about the spatial dimension of population decline on the national level. Lithuania is one of the countries which have experienced very high levels of population decline in the last decades. This study uses Lithuanian Census data from the years 2001 and 2011 to get insight into the geography of population change for the whole country. The results show a sharp population decline in Lithuania of 17.2% between 1989 and 2011, with the decrease being more intense during the second decade of the period. The population dropped in most areas, including the main cities, but increased in the regions surrounding these cities. The predictive models show a clear geographical dimension of population decline, but also reveal that population composition and investments play a role in the process of decline.
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