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OECD Extended Regional Typology: The Economic Performance of Remote Rural Regions


  • Monica Brezzi


  • Lewis Dijkstra

    (European Commission)

  • Vicente Ruiz



To account for differences among rural and urban regions, the OECD s established a regional typology, classifying TL3 regions as predominantly urban (PU), intermediate (IN) or predominantly rural (PR) (OECD, 2009). This typology, based essentially on the percentage of regional population living in urban or rural communities, has proved to be meaningful to better explain regional differences in economic and labour market performance. However this typology does not take into account the presence of economic agglomerations if they happen to be in neighbouring regions. For example, a region is classified as rural or intermediate regardless its distance from a large urban centre where labour market, access to services, education opportunities and logistics for firms can be wider. Previous work reveals great heterogeneity in economic growth among rural regions and the distance from a populated centre could be a significant factor explaining these differences. For the latter, the OECD regional typology is extended to include an accessibility criterion. This criterion is based on the driving time needed for at least half of the population in a region to reach a populated centre of with 50 000 or more inhabitants. The resulting classification consists of four types of regions: Predominantly Urban (PU), Intermediate (IN), Predominantly Rural Close to a city (PRC) and Predominantly Rural Remote (PRR). For the time being, the extended typology has only been computed for regions in North America (Canada, Mexico and the United States) and Europe. The extended typology is used to compare the dynamics of population and labour markets. Remote rural regions show a stronger decline in population and a faster ageing process than rural regions close to a city. The remoteness of rural regions is in fact a significant factor explaining regional outflows of working age population, confirming that this extended typology captures the economic distance from market and services. Remote rural regions appear economically more fragile: lower employment rates (Canada and Mexico) and economic output (Europe). Afin de prendre en compte les différences entre les régions rurales et urbaines, l’OCDE a établi une typologie régionale qui classe les régions TL3 en 3 catégories : régions majoritairement urbaines (PU), intermédiaires (IN) ou à prédominance rurale (PR), (OCDE, 2009). Cette typologie, qui repose essentiellement sur le pourcentage de la population régionale vivant dans des communautés urbaines ou rurales, s'est révélée significative pour mieux expliquer les différences régionales au niveau de la performance économique et du marché du travail. Toutefois, cette typologie ne tient pas compte de la présence de grandes agglomérations, si celles-ci se trouvent dans des régions voisines. Par exemple, une région est considérée comme rurale ou intermédiaire indépendamment de sa distance d'un grand centre urbain, où le marché du travail, l'accès aux services, les possibilités d'éducation et l’offre logistique pour les entreprises peuvent être meilleurs. Des travaux antérieurs révèlent une grande hétérogénéité de croissance économique entre les régions rurales, et la distance d'un centre fortement peuplé pourrait être un facteur important pour expliquer ces différences. C’est pour cette raison que la typologie régionale de l'OCDE a été élargie afin d’y inclure un critère d'accessibilité. Ce critère est basé sur le temps de trajet que doit réaliser au moins la moitié de la population d’une région pour atteindre un centre urbain de 50 000 habitants ou plus. La classification qui en résulte se compose de quatre types de régions: Majoritairement Urbaines (PU), Intermédiaires (IN), à prédominance rurale proches d'une ville (RPC) et à prédominance rurale éloignées (PRR). Pour l'heure, la typologie élargie n'a été calculée que pour les régions en Amérique du Nord (Canada, Mexique, États-Unis) et en Europe. La typologie élargie est utilisée pour comparer la dynamique de la population et celle des marchés du travail. Elle montre que les régions rurales éloignées ont une baisse plus importante de leur population et un processus de vieillissement plus rapide que les régions rurales proches d'une ville. L'éloignement des régions rurales est en effet un facteur important pour expliquer les migrations régionales de la population en âge de travailler, ce qui confirme que cette typologie élargie prend bien en compte la distance économique du marché et des services. Les régions rurales éloignées apparaissent plus fragiles au niveau économique : des taux d'emploi inférieurs (Canada et Mexique) et une production économique moindre (Europe).

Suggested Citation

  • Monica Brezzi & Lewis Dijkstra & Vicente Ruiz, 2011. "OECD Extended Regional Typology: The Economic Performance of Remote Rural Regions," OECD Regional Development Working Papers 2011/6, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:govaab:2011/6-en
    DOI: 10.1787/5kg6z83tw7f4-en

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    Cited by:

    1. Francisco José Goerlich Gisbert & Isidro Cantarino Martí, 2013. "Redefiniendo ciudades," Working Papers. Serie EC 2013-06, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    2. Goerlich Gisbert, Francisco J. & Cantarino Marti, Isidro, 2014. "El concepto europeo de ciudad: una aplicación para España," INVESTIGACIONES REGIONALES - Journal of REGIONAL RESEARCH, Asociación Española de Ciencia Regional, issue 30, pages 145-156.
    3. Ognjen Žurovec & Sabrija Čadro & Bishal Kumar Sitaula, 2017. "Quantitative Assessment of Vulnerability to Climate Change in Rural Municipalities of Bosnia and Herzegovina," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(7), pages 1-18, July.
    4. Tomasz Klimanek & Sylwia Filas-Przybył, 2019. "The Impact Of The Applied Typology On The Statistical Picture Of Population Ageing In Urban Areas In Poland – A Comparative Analysis," Statistics in Transition New Series, Polish Statistical Association, vol. 20(4), pages 135-152, December.
    5. Francisco José Goerlich Gisbert & Isidro Cantarino Martí, 2013. "Población rural y urbana a nivel municipal," Working Papers. Serie EC 2013-01, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    6. Ayça Akarçay Gürbüz & Sezgin Polat & Mustafa Ulus, 2014. "In Limbo: Exploring Transition to Discouragement," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 26(4), pages 527-551, September.
    7. Laird, James J. & Mackie, Peter J., 2014. "Wider economic benefits of transport schemes in remote rural areas," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 92-102.
    8. Christensen, Linda & Nielsen, Otto Anker & Rich, Jeppe & Knudsen, Mette, 2020. "Optimizing airport infrastructure for a country: The case of Greenland," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C).
    9. Eugenio Cejudo García & José Antonio Cañete Pérez & Francisco Navarro Valverde & Noelia Ruiz Moya, 2020. "Entrepreneurs and Territorial Diversity: Success and Failure in Andalusia 2007–2015," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(8), pages 1-19, August.
    10. Francisco J. Goerlich & Ernest Reig & Isidro Cantarino, 2016. "Delimitación y características de las áreas rurales en los municipios y las provincias españolas," Working Papers 1606, Department of Applied Economics II, Universidad de Valencia.

    More about this item


    ageing; distance to markets; labour market mobility; OECD regional typology; road networks; rural regions;

    JEL classification:

    • C80 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - General
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics
    • R4 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics

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