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Microregional fragmentation in a Swedish county
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Regional Science (CERUM).
2001 (English)In: Papers in regional science (Print), ISSN 1056-8190, E-ISSN 1435-5957, Vol. 80, no 4, 389-409 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2001. Vol. 80, no 4, 389-409 p.
Keyword [en]
Regional development, rural change, welfare, cluster analysis
National Category
Social and Economic Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-24786DOI: 10.1007/PL00013630OAI: diva2:227498
Available from: 2009-07-14 Created: 2009-07-14 Last updated: 2014-10-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Socio-economic dynamics in sparse regional structures
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Socio-economic dynamics in sparse regional structures
2002 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of the thesis is to describe and analyse socio-economic changes in northern Sweden. Focus is on the period 1985-2000. Population development, restructuring of economic activities, political and cultural changes are related to a theoretical discussion on the transformation of sparsely populated areas as an outcome of multi-dimensional and interrelated processes. Besides an introductory and concluding section, the thesis contains four papers.

The first paper deals with forestry's changed role in the local economy of four municipalities located in the inland areas of upper Norrland. The changes within forestry have been driven by adaptation to global competition and rapid technical development. Even though timber production has increased in some of the municipalities, job losses have greatly reduced the importance of forestry in the local economies. Many employees have left forestry for work in other branches, unemployment or retirement However, relatively few have moved from the area. A multiplier model was employed in order to analyse the impact on the local economy.

The second paper deals with population changes in the six northernmost counties. During the 1990s, most municipalities and rural areas in northern Sweden have experienced renewed depopulation. At the same time, some rural areas have shown significant population growth. Three types of rural areas with population growth have been identified. Firstly, there are rural areas within daily commuting distance from regional centres. Secondly, there is a group of rural areas, mainly a number of mountain villages close to the border with Norway, which has benefited from the tourist industry. Finally, there are a few rural areas characterised by attractive residential environments and leisure housing.

The third paper is based on a classification of 500 residential areas and villages in the county of Västerbotten into seven types of housing environments. In this way, the county is broken down into a mosaic of housing environments characterised by very different prerequisites for consumption and economic development A complex and dispersed pattern of disadvantaged residential areas all over the county indicates the difficulty in treating counties and municipalities as homogeneous regions.

In the fourth paper, focus is on young peoples' attitudes towards staying in or moving to small communities within a local labour market region in northern Sweden. The study is based on telephone interviews with 400 young men and women in the Umeå region. Half the interviewees lived in the university city of Umeå while the others were residents in five rural municipalities surrounding Umeå. In general, the males and females aged 19-25 had a much more positive attitude towards living in rural communities than did those aged 15-18. Nevertheless, only half of the young people already living in the rural municipalities wanted to stay there. Among the young people living in the city, slightly less than 50% showed an interest in moving to the surrounding rural areas, mainly the countryside within commuting distance from the city. The connection between higher education and out-migration of young people from rural areas is also highlighted.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet, 2002. 47 p.
GERUM, ISSN 1402-5205 ; 2002:2
Northern Sweden, Norrland, Sparsely populated areas, Countryside, Rural change, Regional development, Forestry, Population, Welfare, Glesbygd-- Sverige -- Norrland, Regional utveckling-- Sverige -- Norrland, Norrland-- sociala förhållanden, Norrland-- ekonomiska förhållanden
National Category
Human Geography
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-94119 (URN)91-7305-243-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2002-05-31, Samhällsvetarhuset, Hörsal C, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:15

Diss. (sammanfattning) Umeå : Univ., 2002

Available from: 2014-10-07 Created: 2014-10-03 Last updated: 2015-04-10Bibliographically approved

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