Population Decline in Lithuania: Who Lives in Declining Regions and Who Leaves?

24 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2016

See all articles by Rūta Ubarevičienė

Rūta Ubarevičienė

Delft University of Technology

Maarten van Ham

Delft University of Technology - OTB Research Institute for Housing, Urban and Mobility Studies; University of St. Andrews; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

Since the 1990s, Lithuania lost almost a quarter of its population, and some regions within the country lost more than 50% of their residents. Such a sharp population decline poses major challenges to politicians, policy makers and planners. This study aims to get more insight into the recent processes of socio-spatial change and the role of selective migration in Lithuania. The main focus is on understanding who lives in those regions which are rapidly losing population, and who is most likely to leave these regions. This is one of the first studies to use individual level Lithuanian census data from 2001 and 2011. We found that low socio-economic status residents and older residents dominate the population of shrinking regions, and unsurprisingly we found that the most "successful" people are the most likely to leave such regions. This process of selective migration reinforces the negative downward spiral of declining regions.As a result, socio-spatial polarisation is growing within the country, where people with higher socio-economic status are increasingly overrepresented in the largest city-regions, while the elderly and residents with a lower socioeconomic status are overrepresented in declining rural regions. This paper provides empirical evidence of selective migration and increasing regional disparities in Lithuania. While the socio-spatial changes are obvious in Lithuania, there is no clear strategy on how to cope with extreme population decline and increasing regional inequalities within the country.

Keywords: population decline, shrinking regions, internal migration, socio-spatial polarisation, Lithuania

JEL Classification: R23, O15, J11, P20

Suggested Citation

Ubarevičienė, Rūta and van Ham, Maarten, Population Decline in Lithuania: Who Lives in Declining Regions and Who Leaves?. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10160, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2834210

Rūta Ubarevičienė (Contact Author)

Delft University of Technology ( email )

Stevinweg 1
Stevinweg 1
Delft, 2628 CN
Netherlands

Maarten Van Ham

Delft University of Technology - OTB Research Institute for Housing, Urban and Mobility Studies ( email )

P.O. Box 5043
2600 GA Delft
Netherlands
+31 15 278 2782 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.maartenvanham.nl

University of St. Andrews ( email )

North St
Saint Andrews, Fife KY16 9AJ
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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