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An ageing countryside: Successful ageing or just advanced ageing in the rural areas of northern Sweden?
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography. (Arcum)
2010 (English)In: Social capital and development trends in rural areas: Volume 5 / [ed] Hans Westlund och Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Jönköping: RUREG , 2010, 151-167 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In recent years the issue of ageing populations has been given high priority on the agenda for politicians, planners and other decision-makers. That people tend to live longer is in most cases perceived as something positive, whereas the society could also face difficulties to handle a situation with a growing share of elderly people. Although many rural areas exposed to ageing processes experience structural net out-migration of young people and depopulation, other rural areas attract people close to retirement age and have rather stable or even increasing number of inhabitants. From these perspectives it is relevant to pinpoint both positive aspects, usually related to the concept of “successful ageing”, and the negative aspects often associated with “advanced ageing”. The paper provides a detailed geographical analysis of the contemporary tendencies within the rural areas of the county of Västerbotten in northern Sweden. Results indicate considerable differences within the county. Rural areas affected by decades of depopulation are also those with a bias towards advanced ageing. However, not all sparsely populated areas follow the general pattern with both depopulation and ageing. First of all, there are some villages in the mountain range with younger populations and a more stable number of inhabitants. Secondly, even in remote rural areas facing depopulation there are parts where the number of elderly is decreasing. This reduction could be due to out-migration of old people or that a substantial part of the population already in the early 1990s had reached such a high age that they where gone by the end of the study period. By contrast, the number of people 75+ in expanding rural areas within commuting distance from Umeå has increased relatively little in comparison to other age groups above 44 years of age. This could indicate either that these areas are not as attractive to elderly people as sometimes assumed or difficulties to manage in these surroundings when becoming aged.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jönköping: RUREG , 2010. 151-167 p.
, Social Capital and Development Trends in Rural Areas, 5
Keyword [en]
ageing, regional development, rural restructuring, GIS, Västerbotten
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-36177ISBN: 978-91-633-7221-6OAI: diva2:352513
Ageing and Living Conditions (ALC)
Available from: 2010-09-21 Created: 2010-09-21 Last updated: 2016-05-26Bibliographically approved

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Pettersson, Örjan
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