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Typology of rural areas in the Central and Eastern European EU new member States


  • Baum, Sabine
  • Trapp, Christian
  • Weingarten, Peter


Rural areas in Central and Eastern Europe are very often associated with a backwardness in terms of income and employment opportunities, a high dependency on agriculture, the outmigration of young, skilled people, a low population density and an insufficient infrastructure. In this paper 3 typologies are presented, which show that rural areas cannot be considered homogeneous and not all of them need the same developmental measures. The first typology classified all NUTS-3 regions in the ten Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC-10) by means of cluster analysis according to 7 demographic and socio-economic criteria. The result revealed 5 different types of regions as most adequate: three are largely rural, one includes both rural, and especially industrialised urban areas, and one covers only large cities. Narrowing the geographical focus to a single country in general improves data availability and allows to include more variables. In our case, Bulgaria, 16 variables on the NUTS-3 level could be condensed by factor analysis to 3 factors, which can be considered as structuring forces in rural Bulgaria: agglomeration, marginality and employment. Based on these factors, 6 groups of rural regions could be identified. The third analysis widened the geographical focus and included beside the NUTS-2 regions of the CEEC-10 also whose of the EU-15 (without UK). The first results of this cluster analysis with 12 variables revealed large developmental differences between these 2 country groups. The 3 typologies presented for different geographical areas provide no code of practice for regional policy measures, but important first clues for the elaboration of adapted rural development measures in CEE.

Suggested Citation

  • Baum, Sabine & Trapp, Christian & Weingarten, Peter, 2004. "Typology of rural areas in the Central and Eastern European EU new member States," IAMO Discussion Papers 72, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:iamodp:14906

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    Cited by:

    1. Wegener, Stefan & Kiryluk, E., 2008. "Regional aspects of decision-making support for rural development in Poland," 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium 43845, European Association of Agricultural Economists.

    More about this item


    Rural area; typology; Central and Eastern Europe; cluster analysis; Ländlicher Raum; Typisierung; Mittel- und Osteuropa; Clusteranalyse;

    JEL classification:

    • C19 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Other
    • P25 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics
    • 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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