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Regional Sensitivity to Demographic Change

Regional challenges in the perspective of 2020. Regional disparities and future challenges - Demographic Challenge

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Abstract in English: 
"In this study, three main drivers of the current demographic challenge in the EU regions have been singled out and have been used in making up the sensitivity index through their main components :
- Total population change;
- Changes in labour-age population;
- Population ageing.

In a global frame of reference, Europe presents a peculiar demographic situation characterised by: i) very low or below-zero rate of population growth; ii) steady growth or initial decrease of the labour-age population; iii) ageing processes which involve the entire population as well as its significant parts, labour-age population in particular.
Four critical areas have been singled out in respect to the EU27 regions’ sensitivity to the demographic challenge by 2020:
1) The former Eastern Germany, with some extensions westwards;
2) The North-western part of Spain;
3) North-western and Central Italy, with some extensions southwards;
4) All the Bulgarian regions.

(...)Some changes in the future population dynamics are almost independent from the future macro-economic prospects and the relevant scenarios. The cohort turnover by 2020 shall modify the demographic structure and trends. Future migrations, internal or external to the EU, may change only partially those turnovers, so that their impact can be foreseen with large confidence.
The two alternative scenarios – the pessimistic one, which foresee a severe and perdurable economic recession, vs. the optimistic one, which imagines a fast recovery driven by innovation – mainly affect only the migration components of the demographic challenge. In that, much will depend on the ways and territorial distribution of the economic recession/development. Also the involvement and response of the neighbouring countries in those processes will have important returns on the foreseeable future of the European population.
Results of both scenarios confirm that European regions in 2020 will continue facing ageing and immigration. In the pessimistic scenario, ageing is more diffused and this negatively affects population change. In particular: social risks and costs of demographic change increase in more sensitive regions, while the future growth potential is limited in less sensitive regions. In the optimistic scenario, demographic constraints are moderately less stringent. In this context, more sensitive regions may experience increasing internal disparities in population ageing and agglomeration; less sensitive regions may experience lighter constrictions in WAP and in the future population growth. Both scenarios would require supporting social and economic adaptation of the different territories to demographic change, stressing the relevance of cohesion policy."
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