June 23, 2015

Map: Population shifts in Europe

From CityLab:

An Incredibly Detailed Map of Europe’s Population Shifts


Since the turn of the millennium, Europe has been undergoing some pretty intense demographic change. Just how intense—and intricate—this change has been is revealed in a new map created by Germany’s BBSR, the country’sFederal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development.


Click to enlarge


Dark blue patches show an average annual population fall of 2 percent or more, the medium blue patches a fall of between 1 and 2 percent, and the lightest blue patches a fall of up to 1 percent. Areas in beige have experienced no statistically significant change, while the red areas show population growth.

Municipalities in deep red have experienced an average annual population rise of 2 percent or more, the medium red of between 1 and 2 percent, and the pale pink areas of up to 1 percent. …

Suburbanization intensifies in Eastern Europe

…  many cities, including Prague, Bucharest, and the Polish cities of Poznań and Wrocław, are ringed with a deep red circle that shows a particularly high rise in average annual population of 2 percent or more … Eastern cities began to spread out in the new millennium because it was their first chance to do so in decades.

Still leaving the East

The dark blue coloring of the map’s Eastern section shows that the lean years for Eastern states are by no means over. Residents have continued to leave Albania, Bulgaria and Latvia in particular in search of jobs, while even relatively wealthy eastern Germany has been hollowed out almost everywhere except the Berlin region.

Population growth in the Northwest, meanwhile, is far from even. While large sections of Northern Scandinavia’s inland are losing people, there’s still modest growth on the Arctic coasts. And while the Scottish Highlands contain some the least peopled lands in all of Europe, Scotland’s Northeast shows remarkable population gains, a likely result of the North Sea oil industry concentrated in Aberdeen.

On the other side of Europe, the map reveals Turkey as a country undergoing intense demographic ferment. As people leave its countryside and move to its major cities and coasts, the country is transformed into a vivid mosaic that arguably shows more intense rises and falls than any other on the map.

Spain bucks the trend

Spain’s trends look a little different from those of Europe as a whole. It’s actually in the country’s Northwest where the population has dropped most sharply, notably in the provinces of Galicia and León, which have long been known to produce many of Spain’s migrants.

But other previously impoverished regions, such as Southwestern Murcia, have grown, a trend continuing along the Mediterranean coast where population levels have risen sharply. One reason for this is that the coasts are magnets for retiring or downsizing northwestern Europeans who move here on the hunt for daily sunshine and low prices.

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  1. What jumps out at me is the pop. growth in rural France. In the ’80s and early ’90s, it was unusual to see anyone younger than a pensioner in all those little farm towns. Are they expat retirees/escapees from Britain and Belgium? Or has the urbanward flood of the young somehow reversed?

  2. When looking at the east it’s important to also look at the growth in the German cities Leipzig and Dresden, which are huge magnets for young people right now. Poland also seems to have turned around its demographics loss, as has the Czech Republic. The old narratives are definitely changing in Europe.

  3. Estonia is quite different than its Baltic cousins. When I visited a few years ago the difference was striking, interesting to see it statistically like this.