ESPON DEMIFER Basic Data
The present thematic teaching package “Demographic and migration
flows” is part of the ESPONTrain project and was produced by two
editorial teams anchored in ECP Romania and ECP Bulgaria involving in
particular Alexandru Rusu, Octavian Groza, Daniel Tudora, members of
CUGUAT-TIGRIS research center at the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of
The Thematic Teaching package 1: Demographic and migration flows is
based on the results of the ESPON Demifer applied research project,
conducted by the ESPON transnational project groups within the
framework of the ESPON 2013 Programme, partly financed by the
European Regional Development Fund.
The elaboration of this educational package has been also assisted by
Stella Kyvelou (Panteion University) and Panagiotis Tagaris (Greek ECP).
Templates have been designed by Maro Sinou (Greek ECP)
Information on the ESPON Programme and projects can be found on
www.espon.eu. The web site allows for downloading and consultation of
the most recent documents produced by finalised and ongoing ESPON
The partnership behind the ESPON Programme consists of the EU
Commission and the Member States of the EU27, plus Iceland,
Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Each partner is represented in
the ESPON Monitoring Committee.
The ESPON Programme is managed by the Ministry of the Interior and
Spatial Development in Luxembourg.© ESPON 2013 Programme and the
partners of the projects mentioned.
The content of this document is based on the applied research
undertaken by transnational teams of researchers taking part in the
ESPON programme. As such, the maps and texts do not necessarily
reflect the opinion of the ESPON Monitoring Committee
Table of contents
Table of contents ................................................................................................................................... ii
List of Figures ........................................................................................................................................ iii
PART A. Introduction .............................................................................................................................. 1
Introductory note on the ESPON 2013 Programme – www.espon.eu ................................................. 1
The ESPONTrain project ........................................................................................................................ 2
The ESPONTrain virtual learning environment (VLE) - Briefing of the training process ....................... 3
Overview ............................................................................................................................................... 3
Developing an ESPONTrain Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) ......................................................... 3
Management of Moodle platform ........................................................................................................ 3
Support of the educational material ..................................................................................................... 3
WiZiQ moodle module .......................................................................................................................... 4
Educational activities............................................................................................................................. 4
Instructional Design Model ................................................................................................................... 4
Applying ADDIE Instructional Design Model into ESPONTrain moodle platform ................................. 5
PART B. Basic data on ESPON projects .................................................................................................... 6
Thematic package 1 Basic Data ............................................................................................................. 6
ESPON DEMIFER Basic data ................................................................................................................... 6
PART C. Scientific analysis and presentation............................................................................................ 7
Problem setting - Key research questions............................................................................................. 7
Analytical framework ......................................................................................................................... 10
Concepts and methodologies .............................................................................................................. 10
2.1.1 Demographic trends in the ESPON space .............................................................................. 10
Typology of different regions – different demographic trends .......................................................... 16
Focusing on migration ......................................................................................................................... 20
Basic demographic dynamics at regional scale ................................................................................... 24
The labor force - a stake for policy designers in the future ................................................................ 27
Policy relevance – Policy implications ....................................................................................... 30
Policy considerations for the demography in European territorial development context ................. 31
Demographic considerations and policy context ................................................................................ 31
Considering policy on multi-levels ...................................................................................................... 35
Policies accommodating demographic challenges in different types of regions ................................ 36
Retaining favourable trends ................................................................................................................ 36
Dealing with population decline ......................................................................................................... 36
Challenging the disparities .................................................................................................................. 37
Policy bundles affecting changes in demographic and migratory developments .............................. 38
Policy scenario implications for mortality ........................................................................................... 39
Policy scenario implications for fertility .............................................................................................. 39
Policy scenario implications for migration .......................................................................................... 39
Policy scenario implications for the labour force................................................................................ 40
Combining policy considerations ........................................................................................................ 40
PART E. Outputs- Conclusions- Limitations ............................................................................................ 43
Resources for further reading ............................................................................................................... 44
Annex 1. Deliverables & Case studies ................................................................................................... 46
Annex 2. Training support-Questions ................................................................................................... 47
Annex 3. Training support- Simulations and exercises - a training tool for decision ................................ 54
List of Figures
Figure 1: Steps of a typical course development process .................................................................................................. 5
Figure 2: Annual Average Change in Population Aged 20-64, in % .................................................................................. 15
Figure 3: Typology of the demographic status in 2005 .................................................................................................... 19
Figure 4: Impact of Migration on the Population in 2050 ................................................................................................ 22
Figure 5: Internal migration in Europe in 2007 ................................................................................................................ 23
Figure 6: Change in population 2005-2050 ...................................................................................................................... 26
Figure 7: Change in labour force in 2005-2050 period ..................................................................................................... 29
Figure 8: Relative change in population age 20-39 years - annual average change for 2001-2005 ................................. 58
Figure 9: Dissimilarities between the regions: Change in Population aged 20-39 .......................................................... 63
Part A. Introduction
1. Introductory note on the ESPON2013 Programme – www.espon.eu
The ESPON 2013 Programme, the European Observation Network for Territorial Development and
Cohesion, was adopted by the European Commission on 7 November 2007.
The programme budget of €47 mill is part-financed at the level of 75 % by the European Regional
Development Fund under Objective 3 for European Territorial Cooperation. The rest is financed by 31
countries participating, 27 EU Member States and Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
The mission of the ESPON 2013 Programme is to:
“Support policy development in relation to the aim of territorial cohesion and a harmonious
development of the European territory by (1) providing comparable information, evidence,
analyses and scenarios on territorial dynamics and (2) revealing territorial capital and potentials
for development of regions and larger territories contributing to European competitiveness,
territorial cooperation and a sustainable and balanced development”.
The actions carried through under the programme include different, however strongly interrelated
Applied research on different themes of European territorial dynamics is the core business,
providing scientifically solid facts and evidence at the level of regions and cities. These results
make it possible to assess strength and weaknesses of individual regions and cities in the
European context. The applied research is conducted by transnational groups of researchers
Targeted Analyses together with stakeholders is an important project type that makes use of
ESPON results in practice. Stakeholders express their interest and ESPON provides a team of
experts that carries through the analysis in close collaboration. Stakeholders then make use of
the European perspective in results in policy considerations for their territorial context, in
strategy development or other activities, that benefits development.
Scientific Platform development is supported by an ESPON Database project and actions
dealing with territorial indicators and monitoring as well as tools related to territorial analyses,
typologies, modelling and updates of statistics.
Capitalisation of ESPON results that includes media activities and different ESPON publications.
Events such as ESPON Seminars and Workshops are regularly organised and a transnational
effort in the capitalisation is ensured by a network of national ESPON Contact Points.
Technical Assistance, Analytical Support and Communication ensure the sound management of
the programme and the ability of processing scientific output towards the policy level.
2. The ESPONTrain project
Title : ESPONTrain - Establishment of a transnational ESPON training programme to stimulate interest
to ESPON2013 knowledge
The ESPONTrain Project is aiming at making ESPON2013 knowledge operational in a coordinated and
transnational way for practical use at regional and local level, and translating ESPON Europe-wide
information and findings to the regional/local level.
Specifically, the project is aiming at:
Stimulating a transnational educational and training ESPON activity facilitated by both an elearning procedure and a networking promoted by ECPs.
Identifying efficient target groups within the national environments (both educational and policy
making) so as to be multipliers of the diffusion of the ESPON philosophy, ideas, findings and
Disseminating knowledge already produced by the ESPON2013 Programme transforming it in
comprehensible educational and training material, maintaining its scientific soundness.
Main results in terms of capitalisation
The ESPONTrain Project shall be able to ensure commitment and engagement of the stakeholders
involved and provide them with ESPON knowledge so as to make them “multipliers” of the ESPON
Main activities envisaged
o Definition of target groups, identification of trainers and trainees
Collection, analysis and identification of the educational material based on the ESPON results
o Identification of course structure and choice of educational scenarios
Building of the learning platform and selection of online opportunities and multimedia to be
o 1st educational cycle implementation (for professionals)
o 2nd educational cycle implementation (for post-graduate students)
o Evaluation and reporting on the ESPONTrain learning cycles
o Final transnational conference
The main thematic teaching packages, based on the ESPON Projects, are the following:
1. Migration-demography (ESPON Project: DEMIFER)
2. Rural (ESPON Project: EDORA)
3. Energy - Climate change (ESPON Projects: ReRISK and ESPON Climate)
4. Urban & Agglomeration economies (ESPON Project: FOCI and SGPDT)
5. Types of specific territories (ESPON Projects: EUROISLANDS and TeDI)
6. Territorial cooperation - Governance building (METROBORDER and TERCO)
o policy makers and practitioners coming from the public sector dealing with territorial
development and cohesion strategies and plans
o post-graduate students and young researchers/professionals in spatial planning and territorial
Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences of Athens – Research Committee, Greece.
Detailed information on the contracted project team can be found under Transnational Project Groups.
Budget: € 436 875,00
Project’s lifetime: 15 November 2010 - 31 January 2013
Delivery of Draft Final Report: 30 November 2013
Final Report: 30 January 2013
Please contact the Project Expert at the ESPON Coordination Unit:
Peter BILLING, email: [email protected]
3. The ESPONTrain virtual learning environment (VLE)
Briefing of the training process
ESPONTrain e-Learning is based on Moodle platform. It’s a learning Management System (LMS). It
supports asynchronous learning methods. Moodle proves all the required tools to support the training
process. It is a modular platform and it can be extended easily. In this section, the main features of
platform will be focused as well as the preparation of the teaching material and the learning path of the
participants using the moodle platform of ESPONTrain.
Developing an ESPONTrain virtual learning environment (VLE)
Moodle is open source software and it is distributed under the terms of the General Public License
(GPL). The Moodle is educational content management software (Course Management System / virtual
learning environment). Used mainly for the purpose of asynchronous tele-education. It has been
selected for the design and development of ESPONTrain e-learning platform. The platform of moodle is
widespread throughout the world. It is used from many universities and colleges all over the world.
Moodle platform provides a friendly environment. Participants and learn using the environment of the
platform through the interactivity that it offers. It provides a wide variety of tools that can be used by
the course designer to design, evaluate and support the course. In the next paragraphs further
information will be provided for the use of the basic tools and activities that are available in ESPONTrain
Management of Moodle platform
Moodle platform offers several built in groups of users in order to organize the privileges of access the
resources of the platyform. Each user group can specific rights and represents a physical role in the
platform. The main user groups that we are dealing with ESPOTrain moodle platform are four. The first
role is the role of the student (participant). There is a role for the course designer which it is addressed
to the person that is responsible for the preparation of the education material. The role of the teacher
(instructor) is for the person that will teach the course and finally there is the role of the administrator
that it is responsible for the management of the platform and the whole system.
Support of the educational material
Moodle plaform’s content is organized in blocks. The block is an oriented squared area on web page of
moodle. Each block presented specific content. Block structure is used in order to manage and organize
the education content of the platform. Moreover blocks are used to manage the user’s privileges by
allowing or disallowing to view the blocks.
According to ESPONTrain needs and requirements additional software and modules of moodle platform
were used. As it has already mentioned moodle is a modular environment. Additional software can be
installed and integrated into the platform in the form of modules. These modules can be found freely
from the moodle open source community and some others can be purchased from third party
companies. In order to support synchronous distance learning methods into ESPONTrain platform, a
module which is entitled “WiZiQ” was used. It is provided as service from a third party company. The
last extends the main features of the moodle platform in a way to support teleconference in a virtual
Furthermore, Quantum GIS (QGIS) was proposed for the creation and visualization of geographical data
on maps. It is open source software, (under GPL). These maps can as an additional service to support
the training process. The maps can be exported in a web environment can they can be used from the
moodle by using a mapserver software, which it is also open source and it is distributed freely under
WiZiQ moodle module
WiZiQ is a module that supports synchronous distance learning methods. It extends the main feature of
moodle platform. It is provided as service with subscription form a third party company. It offers a quite
friendly environment for both teacher and participants (students). It offers a virtual environment similar
to the traditional physical classroom in which everybody can participate from anyplace they can
The module WiZiQ was selected among other because it provides a “turn-key” solution in learning
management systems. It is a well known approach in moodle community and finally it doesn’t require
any extra special equipment or software to be installed from the server side. Any personal computer or
laptop can use this module. The only requirements are an internet connection, a web camera and a set
of microphone and speakers in case of video conference participation.
The preparation and the organization of the education material in the ESPONTrain moodle platform can
be accomplished by the learning activities. The content of the learning activities will define the learning
path of the participants (students). There are several learning activities, some of them can evaluate the
participants and some others they cannot. The social constructionist learning philosophy is reflected in
many of these activities that enable students to learn collaboratively and actively contribute to the
learning experience. ESPONTrain moodle platform offers the set of the following activities.
Real time chat
These are activities for social communication such as forum and chat. Also, Moodle offers glossaries,
wiki and workshops in a collaborative environment. For the education of the participants, choice, lesson
and quiz is offered. The evaluation can be accomplished by multi-choice questions, formula based
answers or other ways. Finally participants can post their assignments through assignment activity. On
the other hand Moodle offers several ways to organize resources in folders using labels.
Instructional Design Model
Besides the preparation of the moodle platform, the educational material has to be prepared and the
educational path has to be designed. The term Instructional Design (also called Instructional Systems
Design – I.S.D.) refers to the systematic and reflective process of translating principles of learning and
instruction into plans for instructional materials, activities, information resources, and evaluation. The
Instructional Design focuses on what the instruction should be like, including look, feel, organization
and functionality. Instructional Designers work much like architects, drawing up specifications and
blueprints for a course before actual construction begins. A typical course development process
includes the following steps.
Figure 1: Steps of a typical course development process
A well known Instructional Design Models is called ADDIE (Analysis – Design - Develop – Implement –
Evaluation). The ADDIE instructional design model is one of the oldest and most popular models for
Instructional Design. It is used by both business and education because it provides a systematic process
for designing training materials.
Sometimes utilized adaptation to the ADDIE model is in a practice known as rapid prototyping.
Generally, rapid prototyping models involve learners and/or subject matter experts (SMEs) interacting
with prototypes and instructional designers in a continuous review/revision cycle. Developing a
prototype is practically the first step, while front-end analysis is generally reduced or converted into an
on-going, interactive process between subject-matter, objectives, and materials.
Moving forward, another instructional design model is the Instructional Development Learning System
(IDLS). The main components of the IDLS model are listed below.
Design a Task Analysis
Develop Criterion Tests and Performance Measures
Develop Interactive Instructional Materials
Validate the Interactive Instructional Materials
Applying ADDIE Instructional Design Model into ESPOTrain moodle platform
The ADDIE Instructional Design Model method can be used to design the educational material of the
ESPONTrain platform courses. Both synchronous and asynchronous educational methods can be used.
The learning activities of the ESPONTrain moodle platform and the resources (notes) of the course can
support the teaching process. Moreover the synchronous learning method, that WiZiQ module can
offer, can reinforce the training process.
Part B. Basic Data on ESPON Projects
1. Thematic package 1 Basic Data
The thematic Package 1 deals with the results from the ESPON 2013 project entitled ‘Demographic
and Migratory Flows affecting European Regions and cities (DEMIFER)’. Two main developments form
the point of departure for the project:
First, the ageing of the population in Europe in the next decades. A major consequence of the
ageing of the population is that the working age population will decline which may have a
downward effect on economic growth and competitiveness in many European regions.
Second, the important challenges European regions will have to face from environmental
changes, particularly climate change and limitations in the availability of energy. Even though
ageing and environmental change are global developments, the consequences may be
different for different regions and may affect migration flows across regions in different ways.
The key objective of DEMIFER was to assess the effects of demographic trends and migration flows
on European regions and cities and to examine the implications for economic and social cohesion,
taking into account the possible effects of climate change.
ESPON DEMIFER Basic Data
Demographic and migratory flows affecting European regions and cities.
Overall predictions indicate labour shortages in the EU after 2010. The Commission Staff Working
Document on Europe’s demographic future points out that from around 2017 on the shrinking
population in working age will lead to stagnation and, subsequently, reduction of total employment.
Against this backdrop, the EU Commission acknowledges the necessity of immigration from outside
the EU to meet the requirements of the European labour market. The Fourth Cohesion Report
indicates that already today, population growth depends on immigration. In the above mentioned
staff working document, the Commission identified a need of further analysis for the effects of
migration on Europe’s demographic future. In response to above mentioned key policy documents the
project deals with the effects of demographic and migratory flows on European regions and cities and
examines the implications for regional competitiveness and European cohesion.
Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI), The Netherlands.
Detailed information on the contracted project team can be found under Transnational Project
Nadine Cattan, France
Mats Johansson, Sweden
Project’s lifetime: September 2008 –September 2010
Delivery of Final Report: 30 September 2010
Please contact the Project Expert at the ESPON Coordination Unit:
Sandra DI BIAGGIO, e-mail: [email protected]
Part C. Scientific analysis and presentation
1. Problem setting - Key research questions
In the near future European regions have to face four major challenges: globalisation, demographic
change, climate change and sustainable energy1. In order to adjust to the new opportunities and
consequences of globalisation, the Lisbon Agenda requires European economies to increase
productivity growth, employment levels and human capital. The main demographic challenges are
decreasing population growth and increasing proportions of the elderly. Ageing and declining
populations strongly influence (regional) labour markets, healthcare expenditure and social security
systems. Together with its proximity to some of the world’s poorest and fastest growing populations,
these demographic developments will continue to put a strong migration pressure on Europe. Climate
change will put high demands on economic, social and environmental systems, while resource
depletion, rising oil and gas prices, and a switch to bio-fuels potentially affect the competitiveness of
energy intensive sectors.
The objective of DEMIFER was to assess the effects of demographic trends and migratory flows on
European regions and cities and to examine the implications for regional competitiveness and
European cohesion. The specific aims of the project are:
to determine how distinctive are current trends in migration, fertility, and mortality and how
they affect differences across regions in population growth, the size of the working age
population and the ageing of the population;
to review the extent to which the effects of internal migration, migration between European
countries and migration to Europe compensate or reinforce each other;
to assess the effects of economy and policy options on natural growth, migration and labour
to forecast how future developments in migration, fertility and mortality will affect population
growth and changes in the age structure in different types of regions;
to analyse the extent to which the labour force in different types of regions will change due to
increases in natural growth, internal migration, international migration and participation rates;
to assess the future effects of environmental change on migration flows within, between and
into countries and regions;
to examine the implications of demographic and migratory developments and to translate the
output of the policy oriented activities into more specific regional settings.
The main demographic perspective of the DEMIFER project is the ageing of the population and its
relationship with regional economic developments. In analysing the relationship between
demographic and economic differences across regions it is important to note that this relationship is
mutual. On the one hand the levels of fertility and mortality and the direction of migration flows are
affected by economic conditions. On the other hand changes in population growth and ageing (which
depend on developments in fertility, mortality and migration) affect both the supply and demand side
of the economy of regions. The second basic principle is that even though climatic crises in Europe
have been rare in the past, in the future environmental changes may affect regional developments,
particularly climate change and limitations in the availability of energy.
A major consequence of the ageing of the population is that the working age population will decline
which may have a downward effect on economic growth and competitiveness in many European
Commission of the European Communities (2008), Regions 2020 - An Assessment of Future Challenges for EU Regions.
regions. In order to achieve the Lisbon goals of long term economic growth, full employment, social
cohesion and sustainable development, the ageing of the working age population asks for policies
aimed at increasing the size of the (potential) labour force, raising employment rates and improving
productivity growth. Furthermore, looking at the ageing of the population it is important to make a
distinction between the ‘young elderly’ and the ‘oldest old’. Increases in the number of the oldest old
will have an effect on the demand of healthcare and long term care. Increases in the size of the young
elderly population on the other hand, may help in bridging the gap between the increase in the
demand of care caused by the increase in the number of oldest old and the decrease in the growth
rate of the working age population, as many of the young elderly are still in reasonably good health
and may well provide informal care. Even though population ageing will affect regions all across
Europe, different types of regions may be affected in different ways.
The final report of DEMIFER provides an overview of the most important recent and future regional
demographic developments in the ESPON area and the corresponding policy considerations for
regional competitiveness and territorial cohesion.
Chapter 2 of the final report reflects on the demographic territory of Europe, in particular on the
countries and regions of the ESPON area2. The focus is on the impact of migration, mortality and
ageing on the working age population.
Chapter 3 of the final report synthesizes the demographic regimes so as to issue a summary typology
of European regions at NUTS2 level3. Special attention is given to the main demographic challenges of
low fertility levels, population ageing and the slowing down of the growth of the working age
population. In the second part of this chapter the typology of demographic status is linked to socioeconomic data providing to each type regional characteristics in terms of economic performance, level
of educational attainment of the population, labour force status, and economic structure.
Chapter 4 of the final report, based on a number of case studies, studies in more spatial detail the
many ways in which demographic and migratory flows may affect European regions and cities.
Referring to a limited number of NUTS2 regions, these studies employ NUTS3 level data and, where
possible, lower level regional areas within these NUTS2 regions as well (aim 7).
Chapter 5 of the final report deals with the main conclusions of the reference scenarios . To answer
questions such as ‘What would be the population in the ESPON area in 2050 if there were no
migration in the future?’ we calculated a set of reference scenarios (answering aim 2). The first
reference scenario assesses what will happen if the demographic regimes of mid-decade (2005)
continue to 2050. Subsequently we explored what happens when various migration streams are
turned off. Two ‘no migration’ scenarios were compiled. In the first we assumed no internal and
international migration at all, while in the second free movement within the ESPON area was
assumed, but no migration to and from the rest of the world.
The interrelationship between ageing and migration on the one hand and economic performance and
structure on the other, comes up for discussion in several chapters. Since it is uncertain to what extent
territorial policies will be effective we examined a number of policy scenarios based on alternative
assumptions about 1) future developments in economic trends, innovation and climate change, and 2)
EU27 plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
The Nomenclature of territorial units for statistics (NUTS) is a three-level hierarchical classification of regions defined for the
Member States of the European Union. For the Candidate Countries and the countries of the European Free Trade Association
(EFTA), a coding of statistical regions according to similar principles as the NUTS classification, has been defined by Eurostat in
agreement with the countries concerned. According to the latest review of the NUTS classification in 2006, with extension in 2008
to accommodate the accession of Bulgaria and Romania, the ESPON area covers 287 NUTS2 regions. Source: Eurostat –
the implementation and effectiveness of regional cohesion policies. Scenarios in which policies will
succeed in narrowing regional disparities are compared with scenarios in which well-off regions will
benefit more than regions lagging behind. The ideas behind the set of policy scenarios are described in
chapter 6 (aim 3).
Chapter 7 of the final report sketches the outcomes of the policy scenarios with respect to the
components of population change, ageing, the relationship between migration and population
redistribution as well as the relationship between population redistribution and population density
(aim 4). What are the consequences of the scenarios in terms of population growth and decline and
the ageing of the population? In this respect it is important to note that due to the effect of the post
war baby boom in the next decades the number of young elderly will rise strongly, but that in the long
run these people will become the oldest old. Thus whereas in the coming decades we may expect an
increase in the supply of informal care, in the long run the gap between supply and demand of care
may well increase sharply.
Chapter 8 of the final report focuses on linkages of economic developments and demographic changes
through the labour market (aim 5). Since the scenarios include labour force participation rates, we
could analyse the impact of demographic and migration trends on the future size of the estimated
actual labour force (in addition to the future size of the estimated potential labour force).
Europe’s cities and regions face several important challenges from environmental changes.
Temperatures are rising, sea levels increasing and rain patterns altering. Oil and gas resources shrink,
prices rise, and a switch into alternative bio-fuels occurs. Chapter 9 addresses future effects of
environmental changes on migration flows within, between and into European countries and regions
While chapters 2 to 9 of the final report describe current and future regional demographic and
migratory developments, chapter 10 discusses the key points for consideration in policies for regional
competitiveness and territorial cohesion. In what way do European demographic developments
contribute to positive regional developments and what parts of Europe are confronted by
unfavourable territorial developments today or will most likely have to face these in the (near) future?
This chapter also discusses the options for policy makers to address the demographic challenges for
European countries and regions.
More detailed descriptions of the research questions and design, data issues, applied methodologies,
outcomes of the scenarios, individual case studies and extensive literature lists, can be found in the
scientific report of DEMIFER that is annexed to the final report.
A list of the deliverables that together make up the scientific report is given in Annex 1.
2. Analytical framework
2.1 Concepts and methodologies
2.1.1 Demographic trends in the ESPON space
This chapter is based on the DEMIFER Final Report (2010), mainly on the first chapter - The
demographic territory of Europe (p. 4-8). A second useful source was Annex 1 - Report on effects of
demographic and migratory flows on European regions (2010). This annex presents the
methodological and scientific aspects that shaped the main conclusions and key findings regarding the
demographic trends in the ESPON space.
As it was already exposed in the introduction, the challenges related to the demographic trends in the
ESPON space are an issue of first importance for the policy design, especially when they interfere with
the territorial competiveness, at different geographical scales (state, NUTS2 or NUTS3). They should
also be carefully observed and understood in order to better express policies related to the territorial
cohesion. The linkage between demographic trends and economic development are still in debate.
Nevertheless, addressing the economic problems without the demographic context will not lead to
optimal policy options and decisions.
In this chapter, we will try to answer to three important questions, to comment on relevant map and
to emphasize the relevant key findings concerning the demographic evolutions in the ESPON space.
We will start with the questions:
1) What is the mechanism that creates differences between NUTS2 regions in the population
development, across the ESPON space?
2) How can we integrate the impact of migration on the policy design?
3) How the population growth and the impact of migration affect the dynamics of the working age
For the moment, these questions work just as tools to explore the sophisticated web of linkages
between different aspects of the demographic development (migration, fertility, population age
structure). The answers we propose are based on the DEMIFER Project, a scientific product that can be
(and should be) critically assessed. The analysis will be completed with a specific case study based on a
map analysis. The map we propose shows different dynamics in the annual average change in
population growth aged 20-64 years. Even if the map only captures the period between 2000 and
2007, this should not be a problem; the demographic trends are sometimes inertial. The challenge for
you is to understand how this demographic dynamics are spatially organized. Finally, we will analyze
the key findings related to the demographic trends in the ESPON space, key findings that works as a
policy decision base.
What is the mechanism that creates differences between NUTS2 regions in the population
development, across the ESPON space?
The differences of population development are the output of 4 demographic trends: fertility,
mortality, internal and international migration (external migration in the case of regions situated in
the same country).
The four variables are dynamic in time and the balance between these
components makes a region growth in population or declining. The worst case scenario for policy
design is to assist regions with low fertility rates, high mortality and negative net migration (outflow
larger than inflow). These components we mentioned are not only affecting the demographic
development, they are also responsible for changes in the working population structure:
- mortality naturally affects the elder cohorts (already out of the working age); in some cases (some
NUTS2 regions from Eastern Europe - NUTS2 South-West Romania) there is an effect also on the
middle age cohorts, probably due to specific morbidity patterns.
- the fertility is an indicator that present a time lag effect on the working age meaning that we will
observe its effects only in the future. However, the regions with high fertility rate will shortly present a
relative negligible working population shrinking due to the child care period (variable from country to
country) that involves at least one active per child.
- the net migration indicator present two different cases. When positive, the working population is
consolidated or its decline due to other factors is moderated. If negative, as the migrants are usually
young working adults, the effect is strong on the working population structure.
According to the DEMIFER Final Report, the population of Europe is slowly increasing with a yearly
average rhythm below 0.5%. With this rhythm and with 515 million of inhabitants in the ESPON space,
the world region we study is comparable with other developed regions of the world, presenting
somehow the same patterns. Is not the present that is problematic. If the actual trends in the
population development are maintained, the ESPON space will face some demographic challenges
that must be contained by proper policy design:
"Over the period 2000-2007 there was population loss for 75 of the 287 NUTS2 regions, 171 regions
experienced an average annual population growth of less than 1 per cent, and in only 41 NUTS2
regions this percentage was above 1." (Final Report DEMIFER, p. 4)
"For assessing the effect of ageing on the increase in the demand of care the rise in the number of
persons aged 75 or over per 100 people aged 20-64 is a better indicator. In the whole ESPON area this
‘very old dependency ratio’ (VODR) increased from 11.0 in 2000 to 12.7 in 2007. The number of
regions with a ratio below 10 halved (from 96 to 46), while the number of regions with a ratio above
15 more than doubled (from 30 to 70). In 21 regions there has been a decline in the VODR." (Final
Report DEMIFER, p. 4)
"In more than half of the NUTS2 regions the TFR (total fertility rate) is 1.5 or lower, while only for
seven regions the TFR amounts 2 or higher." (Final Report DEMIFER, p. 5)
Prolonged in the future, these trends risk to aggravate and to become an obstacle for policy
implications in the competitiveness or territorial cohesion goals. If the population decline can be
counteracted by different measures related to migration, the ageing of population will probably
become the main challenge for the ESPON space. From increasing healthcare needs to the decline of
working population and downward of labor productivity, the effects of this demographic trend are
Download the collection of maps Annex DEMIFER_Deliverable_D11_final_map_atlas from the ESPON
http://www.espon.eu/main/Menu_Projects/Menu_AppliedResearch/demifer.htm. For the moment
and in the logic of this chapter, only maps related to Demography, migration and change in European
population concern this exercise (from p. p4 to p. 75). Use these maps in order to identify the regions
that present symptoms of a worst case scenario: low fertility rate, high mortality and negative net
In order to get familiar with the DEMIFER scenarios, read the Executive Summary of the Final Report
DEMIFER (p. VI-VII). Look again at the collection of maps and try to project the first exercise in the
future. What regions present risks induced by low fertility rate, high mortality and negative net
The final exercise is based on the comparison of two maps, at different scales. You will use again the
DEMIFER_Deliverable_D11_final_map_atlas. In the first chapter of the Atlas (Change in European
Population), there are two maps that present interest: Population change 2000-2007 at NUTS2 scale
(p.6) and Population change 2000-2007 at NUTS3 scale (p.8). The unit of measure is the same - annual
average change per 1000 inhabitants. Compare the legends of the two maps and look carefully at the
number of spatial units for each category. Is there any relative concordance between the categories
and the number of spatial units, when changing the scale of analysis?
How can we integrate the impact of migration on the policy design?
The international migration is the main engine of population change, its most important force. The
migrants are not only increasing the stocks of population by their presence, they also influence the
demographic mechanisms of fertility rates and the working force age. According to DEMIFER, 4 per
thousand of the growth of population of the ESPON space in 2007 were due to international migration
and 1 per thousand was induced by the natural increase. At national levels, we have few exceptions.
Only France and Netherlands presented a higher natural growth of population than the increase
caused by migration. From 23 countries that presented population growth, 21 states reported that the
positive change was correlated with the migration.
The regional scale of analysis shows some contrasting and problematic patterns. First of all, a
distinction should be made between the internal migration (in the country) and the international one
(from country to country in ESPON space or from outside the ESPON space). The statistics are relevant
for this topic:
For about 75 per cent of all regions the total migration balance was positive for the period 2000-2007.
The combination positive internal and positive external occurred most (40 per cent), followed by the
combination positive total, negative internal and positive external (30 per cent). Conversely, there are
hardly any regions with positive internal migration and negative external migration. Regions with both
components negative (10 per cent) can mainly be found in Poland, Bulgaria and Romania. (DEMIFER
Final Report, p.5)
Urbanized regions present more chances to attract migrants (more inter-posed opportunities, in a
classic geo-demographic logic), especially the NUST2 endowed with important MEGA (Metropolitan
Economic Growth Areas) or global cities. The pattern of mobility towards these regions is a source of
geographical differentiation. The house market responds differently to the migration, according to the
purchasing power of the internal vs. external migrants. In the regions attractive for both categories,
the houses tend to be occupied by internal migrants which generally present a superior purchasing
Without being normative, the policy design that focuses on migration should take into consideration
both the immediate and long-term effects of this demographic component, placing it in various
economic and social contexts and scales.
How the population growth and the impact of migration affect the dynamics of the working age
For the moment, the issue of the working age population does not look like a major threat to the
economic competitiveness. As you will see in the next chapters, if the actual trends are maintained
and if the responses to these trends are not consistent, in 2050 we might assist at a reduction with 17
% of the working force population stocks. In the period 2000-2007, the working force population
generally increased in the ESPON space. A signal of alarm is ringed by the 25 % of NUTS2 regions
where we assist to a decrease of this indicator. Germany is the most problematic case - in 75% of its
regions we assist to a decrease of the working force population.
These signs of decrease are also present in other European countries: United Kingdom, Bulgaria,
Hungary, Denmark and Sweden. In other states, the increase of the working force population can be
correlated with the migration trends. Some attractive regions from Spain, France, Italy, regions with
large cities, also see their population increasing, sometimes with almost 1% per year. In other
countries and regions, with a negative net migration, the decrease of the working force population
was compensated or countered by a cohort turnover - a replacement due to the inertia of the
demographic system. Even in this context, there are problems to be taken into consideration. The
transition to a decline of the working force population, in these regions, presents a high probability to
occur. Finally, Greece and Estonia are two countries were the decline of this indicator is generally
explained by the mortality.
Working with maps
Analyse the map Change in Working Age Population 2000-2007 (DEMIFER Final Report, p.8) and try to
identify the major trends.
Identify some of the European regions situated in opposite situations. If you need a basemap for this
exercise, use Eurostat GISCO cartographic support.
Identify areas with major spatial discontinuities in the repartition of this indicator. Try to find neigbor
regions that present opposite values.
Identify regions with geographical specificity (mountain areas dominating, lack of relative accessibility,
coastal regions, regions in the extreme North etc.) and compare their trends.
Try to project the consequences of the different situations you see in the future.
Figure 2: Annual Average Change in Population Aged 20-64, in %
Source: DEMIFER Final Report, p.8
Three relevant key findings concerning the policy decision should be retained from this chapter. These
three conclusions reflects a demographic reality that should serve as a basis for policy decision in the
More than one quarter of the NUTS2 regions in the ESPON area experience the impacts of
Urban regions often face a negative internal migration balance as a result of migration to
settlements outside the urban areas, but, at the same time, attract international migrants.
Migration has increasingly not been sufficient to compensate the decline in the potential labour
force due to cohort turnover.
Source: The demographic territory of Europe, DEMIFER Final Report, p. 4
2.2 Typology of different regions – different demographic trends
The demographic trends in the ESPON space are based on the combination of some factors already
specified in the first chapter. For the policy design, it is important to analyze each factor separately,
but it is also important to provide a synthetic view of the demographic dynamics in Europe. The
synthetic view is the output of a classification of regions based on specific indicators : the share of
the age groups 20 to 39 years, the share of the age groups 65 years and over in 2005, the annual
average natural population increase and the net migration rate during the period 2001 to 2005. In this
classification, every region is attached to a type (a class) and every class has some common
characteristics. Basically, after the classification we assume that regions included in the same class
present the same demographic pattern or that they are similar.
Every indicator has a special role in this equation. For example, the share of age 20 to 39 years is
relevant for the reproductive population and for the young working age reserves. The second indicator
provides information related to the population ageing, while the third indicator describes the natural
dynamics of the population stocks. The mobility of population in space is synthesized in the migration
rate. The regional combination of these factors is sometimes intuitive - some regions will present
values closed to the average for all the indicators, while other spaces will present different patterns of
The description of classes is graphically depicted by the profiles of types (see p. 10, Final Report) and
by their deviation in respect with the central values of the variables. There are 7 types of regions that
the classification retained, each of them being labeled with a challenge or potential, excepting the
class closed to the average for all the four indicators :
“Type 1 – Euro Standard” is coming close to the overall average of the ESPON area with respect to the
indicators used in the cluster analysis. However, the age structure is slightly older than the
average. Overall, a stagnating natural population balance and a positive net migration rate are
prevalent. These regions are mainly found in Northern and Western Europe.
“Type 2 – Challenge of Labour Force” features a high share of population in young working ages and a
slight population decline, driven by a negative natural population development. These regions are
mainly situated in Eastern Europe and in some peripheral areas in Southern Europe.
“Type 3 – Family Potentials” has a slightly younger than average age structure and high natural
population increases, as well as a positive net migration rate. Several regions in Northern and Western
Europe belong to this type.
“Type 4 – Challenge of Ageing” is characterized by older populations and natural population decreases.
Nevertheless, the overall population size is still increasing due to a strong net migration surplus. This is
a rather Southern European type.
“Type 5 – Challenge of Decline” is shaped by a negative natural population balance, as well as a
negative migratory balance. In consequence, this leads to depopulation accompanied by demographic
ageing. This type of region is situated in Eastern Europe, including Eastern Germany.
“Type 6 – Young Potentials” features a young age structure, a positive natural population increase, as
well as a strong migratory surplus. These regions are mainly found in Spain.
“Type 7 – Overseas” is featuring considerable high shares in the young ages and by far the lowest
share of elder population. The strong natural population increase is more than counterbalancing the
negative migratory balance. This type of regions consists of the French Overseas Territories and the
Spanish exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. (p. 9-12, Final Report)
The logic of the regional labels emphasizes a challenge (demographic vulnerability) or a potential, for
the moment and for the future. The map presents a strongly regionalized distribution of these types.
The East cumulates two challenging types - Challenge of Labour and Challenge of Decline. The
Western Europe is included in classes where the vulnerabilities are less present. Contrary, good
potential or average demographic behavior is the main characteristic of this part of the ESPON space.
The South (mainly Spain and Italy) shows a clear opposition in the spatial repartition of the
demographic trends. The implications for the policy design are numerous because the map also
indicates possible goals to achieve (EuroStandard) or labels to avoid like Challenge of Decline.
It is impossible for the scientist and the policy maker not to link the distribution on the map with the
social and economic context. If one compares the growth rates for the GDP-PPP for the same period
with the distribution of profiles, he will observe similar spatial trends. In the recently integrated
countries from the East, the rhythm of economic growth reflected in the GDP-PPP was quit high during
the 2001-2005 period. Despite this encouraging context, the NUTS2 regions in the East are generally
included in the Challenge of Labor and Challenge of Decline, mainly because the demographic
processes and trends take more time to adjust to the economic context.
The DEMIFER typology reveals seven types of regions and sheds light on the prevailing
demographic pluralism across European regions.
The different types broadly reflect the geographical extent of European macro regions, highlighting
demographic differences between Eastern, Southern and North-West Europe.
Population ageing does not necessarily go together with population decline; in spite of low fertility
and high percentages of elderly, strong influx of migrants may result in (still) rising populations.
Almost all regions are confronted with labour force challenges, but the kind of challenge differs by
type of region, depending on the size, age structure, or composition of the working age population.
Source: Typology of regions, DEMIFER Final Report, p. 9
Figure 3: Typology of the demographic status in 2005
Source: p. 10, Final Report
Focusing on migration
Migration is a form of spatial interaction between regions. Compared with other forms of spatial
interaction (commuting), the migration presents some specificity. We can mathematically describe the
flows between places, using populations at origin/destination and the distance that separates the
places. Basically, we observe that distanced regions change less flows than the closed ones, in respect
with the demographic mass that is attached to each of the regions. The migration, even if it is
considered a spatial interaction, does not necessary follow this rule. The distance in the migration
process explains little of the complexity of the phenomena that we study. There are socio-cultural and
economic factors that have more chances to give us a proper understanding of the migration patterns.
In the DEMIFER project, the migration is a topic that presents a high interest, especially for its policy
decision implications. The major consequences of this demographic process will affect many aspects
of the regional economic competitiveness: the working age structure, the size of the labor market, the
regional sensitiveness to new economic models or the regional level of wages (more in
DEMIFER_Deliverable_2, ch.6.2, p.56). In this context, it is crucial to have an adequate image
regarding the migration's implications, now and in the future. The analysis provided by DEMIFER is
derived from the interpretation of data for the recent period (2001-2007) and from projections in the
future (long term - 2050).
The projections are the output of a quantitative model that is based on some reference scenarios,
shaped for policy and decisional interpretation:
- the Status Quo scenario is a base line scenario that projects in the future the trends observed in
2005, on the hypothesis that no change in the migration pattern will occur. This extrapolation is made
under the assumption that fertility, mortality or other indicators will remain constant. At a first look,
the simplicity of the model could be perceived as scientifically inconsistent. As a matter of fact, this
scenario acts more like a signal of alarm regarding the policy implications of the lack of decision in the
matter of migration. Following this scenario, some regions of Romania and Bulgaria will encounter a
significant loss of population in 2050, compared to the year of reference - 2005.
- in the No-Migration scenario we assume that the evolution of population is declined only on the
natural basis (fertility and mortality). It is an extreme case of figure; its utility stays on the potential to
compare different migratory trends at local/regional scale
- No Extra-Europe Migration simulates a demographic situation that will probably occur in the
eventuality that we assist at major restrictions concerning the flows of migrants. Again, we can
consider this situation as an extreme one, serving just as a method able to illustrate and emphasize
the role of migration on the regional demographic structure.
In the Final Report (ch. 5 - The impact of migration on population change, p. 20) some results of the
projection's output are illustrated by some relevant key numbers, describing the demographic context
"The overall ESPON population would reduce from 503,5 million in 2005 to 463,2 million in 2050, that
is to 92 per cent of the initial population. On the regional level the differentiation is substantial: out of
287 regions, 119 (41 per cent) would experience a population increase and 168 – a decrease." (Final
Report, p. 20)
"The labour force would drop from 236.8 million in 2005 to 196.2 in 2050, that is to 83 per cent of the
initial value. Regional labour force would increase in 76 (26 per cent) of regions and decrease in 211."
(Final Report, p. 20)
"In 23 regions labour resources would shrink by 50 per cent or more. These regions are: Latvia, most
regions of Romania and Bulgaria (in the case of the two latter, all but the capital cities and their
immediate hinterland, in which the labour force decrease would be significant but below the 50 per
cent mark), regions in the western part of the former East Germany and selected regions of Poland.
Even if we put aside the extreme cases, the decrease in labor force would be almost universal in the
part of Europe from the east of German western border down to the Adriatic coast and Black See. Also
Portugal and northern Spain would expect a decrease in labor resources." (Final Report, p. 20)
Mapping these trends illustrates a territorial image that splits Europe between poles of growth and
poles of decline situated, not quit as expected, in Italy, Spain and Romania (see map Impact of
Migration on Population in 2050). The most vulnerable regions are in the East. In some NUTS2 regions
of Romania the loss of population reaches 60%, but the situation is not more comfortable in Poland,
Bulgaria, Hungary or the Baltic States. In the Western European countries, the case of Italy is marked
by a strong spatial discontinuity between the North regions and the South ones, in a context of strong
spatial autocorrelation (meaning that neighbor regions seem to present the same demographic
pattern). The Spanish territory is a net winner, according to the assumptions of the Status Quo
scenario. The case of France is also relevant: the distribution of the difference in population follows a
North-South gradient, with inquiring rhythms of decline on the Franco-Belgian border. Germany
shows a more "balanced" situation - the classic opposition between Western Germany and the
Eastern Germany is reflecting in differences of population accumulation.
Figure 4: Impact of Migration on the Population in 2050
Source: DEMIFER Map Atlas, p.72
The migration flows are also an important issue at national level. The configuration of flows reflects
the important role of the internal urban system. All the major destinations are regions endowed with
important metropolitan areas (at least at national scale). The more polycentric a urban system is, the
more complex the configuration of internal migration - Germany. Monocentric urban systems present
oriented system of flows, like in France, Hungary or Finland. There are also intermediate countries Greece, Italy or Spain, countries with an oligopolistic urban system (2 or three MEGA in competition
for the attraction of migrants).
Figure 5: Internal migration in Europe in 2007
Source: DEMIFER Map Atlas, p.72
Migration, both extra-Europe and intra-Europe, will have a significant impact on demographic and
labour force development of regions.
It will benefit affluent regions, whereas poor regions will loose population due to migration.
Similarly, migration will reduce ageing in affluent regions and increase in poor ones.
We may expect that migration will be a strong factor increasing regional disparities.
Most regions experiencing population decrease do so mainly due to natural change. Most regions
gaining populations do so mainly due to extra-Europe migration.
Source: The impact of migration on population change, DEMIFER Final Report, p. 20
Basic demographic dynamics at regional scale
The growth or the decline of population in Europe largely depends on the policies adopted in order to
solve the economic crisis, to reduce the effects of the climate change and the competition for strategic
resources. Mapping the demographic trends at regional scale is a matter of combination between
different scenarios and assumptions that describes the policy measures and reactions. As the Status
Quo scenario is the main reference because it extrapolates in the future the actual trends and because
is able to simulate the dynamics of migration and to calculate the evolution of other indicators, the SQ
was used as a benchmark in order to examine four different policy impact scenarios:
- Growing Social Europe. This scenario assumes that the policy implication will successfully lead to
sustainable economic growth, in a context of social and territorial cohesion that aims to reduce the
- Expanding Market Europe. Focusing on the competitiveness, in a context of economic growth,
produces different trends regarding the demographic components: lower fertility levels, increase in
migration, divergent regional patterns.
- Limited Social Europe. Alterantively, the low economic growth will lead to more cohesion oriented
policy decision, in a context of an increase of environmental problems. The main consequences for
demography are a relative small decrease of the mortality, constant fertility rates and lower flows of
migrants. As in any cohesion oriented scenario, demographic inequalities between regions should
- Challenged Market Europe. The last scenario combines assumptions that suggest a policy frame of
decisions facing issues induced by low economic growth, environmental challenges and a high
orientation towards competitiveness. This set of policies reflects on the demographic components in
less favourable ways: decrease of fertility, constant rates of migration, increase in regional
All these scenarios are based on the Status Quo benchmark and they are build in order to respond to
two different economic and social challenges: the economic and environment axis and the
distribution-fairness axis. The economic and environment axis is responsible for the economic growth,
considering that high challenges of environment will lead to slower rhythms of growth. The second
axis assumes that the distribution of welfare is a matter of policy orientation, marked by individualism
and competitiveness or by cohesion and collectivism. For every scenario, there is a different response
of the demographic system, taking into account a different sensitiveness of the demographic
components in opposite contexts. Four maps help to compare the demographic effects of different
sets of policy decision. Even if the general structure of the maps seems to present the same major
pattern, every scenario has regional impact reflected on the decrease/increase of population.
Romania is a relevant example, but also Spain, Italy or Great Britain.
Figure 6: Change in population 2005-2050
Source: DEMIFER Final Report, p.34
If policies are adopted that solve the current economic crisis, address long term climate change
and resource depletion challenges (the Growing Social Europe and Expanding Market Europe
scenarios), then the population of Europe will grow by nearly a fifth in the period to 2050.
If policies are adopted which fail to stimulate economic growth and which fail to respond to
environmental and resource depletion challenges (the Limited Social Europe and Challenged
Market Europe scenarios), then Europe’s population will stay around its current level. Europe’s
population does not diminish under these scenarios because life expectancy still improves, albeit at
a slower pace, and people survive to older ages.
In three scenarios the working age population will shrink in the period to 2050, and in the other
scenario there will be hardly growth either. The population aged 65 or over will increase in all
scenarios from 17 per cent to 29 to 32 per cent. There is little difference across the scenarios in the
degree of ageing.
The scenarios project substantial redistribution of the population from the poorest to the richest
regions. This redistribution will produce a very significant improvement in collective welfare, even
though the differences between the poorest and richest regions might not change. In the high
growth scenario the most hot spots of growth in working ages will occur in southern England,
Ireland, north and central Italy and south central Spain. Regions in Central and Eastern Europe will
see declines in the working ages.
Population ageing remains the most important demographic challenge and may be greater than
hitherto appreciated if the mortality reductions projected in the policy scenarios, which some
might judge to be optimistic, become reality.
Source: Regional population dynamics, DEMIFER Final Report, p. 32
The labor force - a stake for policy designers in the future
The evolution of the labour force in the future is an issue of major importance for the policy decision.
The labour force and its productivity have a strong impact on the economic context and it can
influence the rhythms of economic growth. If the stocks of labor force naturally diminish,
compensation by migration can be taken into consideration, but this is a topic of policy decision. If
cohesion oriented policies are assumed, depending on the economic growth context, we might assist
to contrasting trends in the development of the working force stocks.
In the Growing Social Europe scenario, the circumstances are favorable and the working force stocks
grow, even in regions with a weaker economic system. In the Limited Social Europe scenario (cohesion
oriented), dealing with the economic and environmental challenges makes working participation rates
falling in all regions. However, the cohesion dimension will have a larger impact on the weaker
regions, decelerating the decrease of the working force population. The array of possibilities looks
limited and becomes problematic in the competitiveness oriented scenarios. In the Expanding Market
scenario a higher rate of economic growth will lead to a higher participation of the working force. This
effect is affecting the most competitive regions, increasing the disparities at regional scale. In the most
pessimistic scenario (Challenged Market Europe), we will assist to a general decrease of this indicator
due to unfavorable economic context. The weaker regions will present an accelerated fall of the
working force participation. In the same time, the disparities between regions will rise and a circular
linkage between the lack of working force and low rhythm of economic growth might interfere with
the competitiveness oriented policy.
From a geographic perspective, the decrease of working force participation rate is generally contained
in the recently integrated Eastern European countries. All four scenarios map the same inquiring
possibility - decrease. Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary are cases where the decrease is severe. Poland
is much depending on the configuration of the policy decision. The "best of the worse" scenario for
Poland are GSE and EME; at least two regions centered on Warsaw and Krakow will see a limited
increase of the working force participation. The other regions are flagged as vulnerable or very
vulnerable. Germany has a special situation. All four scenarios depict a general decrease in the
working force participation. The problem-regions are situated in the East, but the West will be
contaminated too. For this country, the issues related to compensation by migration and the topic of
labour productivity, according to the four scenarios, will become subjects of debate for the policy
If labour force participation rates would not change, the size of the labour force in the ESPON area
will decline by 17 per cent until 2050. Only in one quarter of the regions the labour force would
continue to grow.
In the ‘Young Potential’ type of regions, labour force participation rates of women is low after
childbirth. In the ‘Challenge of Ageing’ and the ‘Challenge of Labour Force’ types, labour force
participation rates at higher ages are low. Thus there is room for an increase of labour force
participation rates in several types of regions.
Only under favourable economic conditions, if extra-European migration is high and if activity rates
will increase, the total size of the labour force in the ESPON area will increase to 2050. However,
even under these economic favourable conditions, 35 to 40 per cent of the regions will face a
decline in the size of the labour force until 2050. If economic conditions are poor, activity rates will
not increase and immigration will be low, 55 to 70 per cent of the regions will experience a decline
of the labour force by 10 per cent or more. In most regions in eastern and southern parts of
Europe, the labour force may decrease even by more than 30 per cent.
Future trends in the labour force, DEMIFER Final Report, p. 38
Figure 7: Change in labour force in 2005-2050 period
Source: DEMIFER MAP Atlas, p. 122
Part D: Policy relevance – Policy
Policies aimed at accommodating demographic challenges and policies aimed at changing
demographic and migratory trends should be combined. Decision makers in all domains at both
the national and regional level should co-operate.
Demographic challenges differ by type of region. Thus the typology of regions is needed to assess
the optimal mix of policy measures to cope with demographic challenges in order to attain the
normative European goals of territorial cohesion and regional competitiveness for each type of
The “shrinking” regions of Europe need policy interventions to make these regions more attractive
to potential immigrants and family-friendly social policies that encourage higher fertility rates and
longer careers for women on the labour market
The main demographic trends across Europe are the decline in population growth, the ageing of the
population, the shift from births to migration as main source of population growth and the reduction
in the growth rate of the working age population. If the size and direction of migration flows and
reproductive behaviour will not change, the size of the working age population will decline in the next
decades, while at the same time the number of elderly people will increase. This will be a risk for
European competitiveness since the working age population in many other parts of the world is
expected to continue to growth in the foreseeable future. In addition, disparities across European
regions may increase. In general the level of fertility and the inflow of migrants are high in affluent
regions, whereas fertility is low and there is an outflow of young migrants in poor regions. Moreover,
premature mortality is high in poor regions. This raises the question which policy options are available
to policy makers in order to improve both European competitiveness and territorial cohesion.
This chapter sketches the policy considerations resulting from the DEMIFER analyses4. It places
demographic and migratory flows into perspective with regard to their potential contributions to
economic growth, sustainable development and EU policy goals of regional competitiveness and
territorial cohesion. It discusses policy considerations or implications rather than direct
recommendations. Across the board policy recommendations for demographic development are
notoriously hard to make as they often imply changes to specific national priorities and social
behaviour. The best recommendation would be for policy makers to read the report and choose the
policy means and activities that are best suited for their own country or region.
This chapter makes a distinction between two types of policies.
First it describes policy implications to accommodate the consequences of demographic challenges
for each of the six main types of regions as delineated in the demographic typology in chapter 3.
Second, it explores policy options aimed at changing demographic and migratory developments. The
DEMIFER scenarios in chapters 5, 6 and 7 chronicle the implication of various bundles or combinations
of policies on future demographic and migratory trends. A comparison of the scenarios shows to what
extent policies affecting demographic and migration flows alleviate ageing and the decline in the
This chapter is based on DEMIFER deliverable D9 ´Report on policy implications´prepared by Lisa Van Well, Nordregio.
labour force. But first the following section puts policy-making considerations, economic growth and
territorial development into context.
1. Policy considerations for the demography in European territorial
Demographic considerations and policy context
The European territorial development debate is framed within several seminal strategies and agendas
to achieve regional competitiveness and territorial cohesion. These include the Lisbon Strategy, the
Territorial Agenda, the Commission’s Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion and most recently the
Europe 2020 discussions for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The European policy territorial
debate, while not specifically assuming that demographic changes result in altered economic
performance, does repeatedly discuss how demographic changes present serious challenges for
territorial development. Thus demographic and migratory developments are discussed within these
broad policy contexts as challenges to be overcome.
Various questions with regard to demographic and migratory trends are high on the European
agendas and encompass several areas of EU policy- migration/immigration and integration policy,
employment and social policy, including the debates on pension reforms, maternity (and paternity)
leave, and enabling the absorption of older and younger workers in the labour force. The Commission
Communication of 2006, “The demographic future of Europe – from challenge to opportunity”5 calls
for an overall strategy to deal with the challenge of ageing and outlines five directions that could be
taken to meet these challenges; 1) promoting an improved balance between professional and working
life, 2) promoting employment, more jobs and longer working lives, 3) working towards a more
productive and dynamic Europe in light of the renewed Lisbon strategy, 4) receiving and integrating
immigrants in Europe, and 5) sustainable public finance. In an updated Ageing Report from 2009,
“Dealing with the impact of an ageing population in the EU” 6 it is reinstated that priority to be given to
these directions but with a new sense of urgency in light of the financial crisis and the priority given to
the European Economic Recovery Plan.
Thus many important questions are raised concerning how Europe can deal with the current and
future demographic and migratory trends. While the research produced in DEMIFER is not always
explicit in providing evidence to address these questions, results do shed some implicit light on the
policy considerations that are relevant in specific territories.
One major policy-related question resulting from the current and anticipated trends in demography
and migratory movements, as shown from the DEMIFER results, is:
“How can European nations and regions compensate the decline of the labour force due to
ageing of the population and declining fertility rates?”
Policy considerations to change and accommodate this trend tend to take a three-pronged approach,
by increasing labour productivity, increasing labour participation rates and/or by boosting the rate of
external immigration to the EU.
Policy considerations for increasing labour productivity, according to the Lisbon strategy, includes not
just capital investments, but also investments in human capital, training and capacity-building. Europe
of the European Communities (2006). Commission Communication. The demographic future of Europe – from
challenge to opportunity. COM (2006) 571 final. Brussels, 12.10.2006.
Commission of the European Communities (2009), Dealing with the impact of an ageing population in the EU (2009 Ageing Report). COM
(2009) 180 final. Brussels, 29.4.2009.
2020 asserts that the growth rate in Europe was waned due to, among other things, the widening
productivity gaps due to insufficient investments in R&D, innovation and ICT. One of the flagship
initiatives to raise labour productivity is thus through a focus on new skills and jobs.
Some studies claim that increasing labour productivity may, over time, actually become the key driver
of growth and a link between demography and economic performance in the EU7. In chapter 8 the
DEMIFER results point out that rising labour productivity may help to mitigate unfavourable trends in
GDP per capita. In all four of the scenarios presented, negative growth will be tempered by a rise in
labour productivity. Conversely, if labour productivity does not improve there is the risk that growth
rates (in GDP per capita) will be negative in all four policy scenarios.
The role that technology plays in increasing labour productivity should be emphasised, in accordance
with the renewed Lisbon strategy. This includes in light of climate change adaptation and mitigation,
new green technologies increasing energy efficiency, as proposed in Europe 2020.
Policy considerations for increasing labour participation include policies to keep older workers on the
labour market for longer periods of time and policies to absorb greater numbers of younger people
(especially women) into the labour market. In the first case policy considerations include reform of
pension systems and retraining of older workers to increase the number of years they are active on
labour markets. But important policies also encompass healthcare concerns to maintain an older, but
vital workforce. In the second case absorption of younger people into the labour markets will depend
on education and training, but also importantly on family-friendly policies that enable men and
women of childbearing age to manage their work-life balance. These include policies to promote
gender equality at the workplace, high quality childcare, and extension of maternal and parental
leave, all of which help to encourage an increase in fertility rates and help to ensure that especially
women remain connected to the labour market even in their childbearing and child-raising years.
DEMIFER results with regard to labour force participation show that growth in the labour force
deviates greatly among the four policy scenarios presented. While many regions will experience
dwindling labour forces, the percentage of regions with shrinking labour forces (labour force change of
more than -10%) is lowest in the Expanding Market Europe (35%), slightly more in the Growing Social
Europe scenario (40%), 55% in the Challenged Market Scenario and all of 70% in the Limited Social
Europe scenario. In the Expanding Market Europe scenario, regions with growing labour forces are
located in northern, western and the southern parts of the ESPON space and particularly within the
large cities in these areas. Within all scenarios, the EU12 Member States will see enduring declines in
the labour force.
Measures are already being taken at EU and national level to address the challenge of compensating
the decline of the labour force. Legislation is now being enacted to raise the minimum period of
parental leave to 20 weeks, recent and expected reforms of public finances are being considered in
most Member States in accordance with the Stability and Growth Pact, use of the “flexicurity” system
within the context of the European Employment Strategy is opening up a more fluid labour market in
several countries, and a focus on capacity building for more and better jobs is being taken in all
Member States with the rigorous implementation of the renewed Lisbon Strategy and National
Reform Programmes. Training and adaptability of workers is part of the European Employment
Strategy’s long-term goals to increase competitiveness of the territory. A focus on life-long learning to
promote employability, adaptability of workers and inclusion of all social groups and a priority of the
European Social Fund.
Carone, G., P. Eckefeldt European Commission. DG ECFIN (2010), Making use of long-term demographic projections in multilateral policy
coordination in the European Union. Joint Eurostat/UNECE Work Session on Demographic Projections (28-30 April 2010), Lisbon, Portugal.
Rauhat, D., and P. Kahila (2008), The Regional Welfare Burden in the Nordic Countries. Nordregio Working Paper 2008:6.
A related question concerns the impact of ageing on the sustainability of public finances. The ageing
population will have impacts on several aspects of public spending – public pension expenditure,
healthcare and education. As the dependency ratio increase, pressure is put on the provision of agerelated transfers and services. The demographic transition of an older population is the main driver
behind the projected increases in Member States public pension expenditure8. To date almost all
Member States have tightened eligibility requirements for receiving public pensions or instigated
supplementary pension schemes9 and real progress has been made, so long as the reforms are remain
in place. Pension reforms and complementary structural reforms in healthcare transfers and services
and education/training should be instigated in the coming period of ten years, where a “window of
opportunity exists” in which labour forces will continue to strengthen somewhat before dependency
ratios rise drastically. Delayed action in implementing these policies will mean that even more drastic
measures may be needed.
Policy considerations for increasing extra-EU immigration include a common European Union
immigration policy (now in legislation) as well as coordinated efforts to fight illegal immigration. Better
management of migration flows by coordinated actions on behalf of the Member States will facilitate
migration into the EU as a means to increase economic and demographic development of the Union.
While immigration can only partly compensate the impacts of ageing and low fertility, it may be an
important force for territorial cohesion. At the same time extra-European migration must be
complemented by integration policies to avoid further labour market segmentation. Changing
attitudes towards migration from being a burden to a benefit of the European territory is an important
part of this.
DEMIFER results from the scenarios case studies show that the most dynamic regions generally
satisfied their labour force demands through immigration. Urban areas are more able to attract
international immigrants, particularly those with institutions of higher education (attracting younger
people) and those that are physically attractive (mountains or coastal areas) to older people. This
ability of major cities and agglomerations to attract working age population can counterbalance a
shrinking and ageing working age population. At the same time the case studies which show a
significant presence of foreign immigrants underline the importance of integration of this population
and preparation for their future ageing (see also Annex 2, synopsis of the case studies).
Measures already being taken to capitalise on extra-European immigration as a means of addressing
gaps in the labour market are seen in the discussions towards a common European Union immigration
policy which recognises that the EU needs migration in certain sectors and regions to deal with the
specific economic and demographic needs of the territory. The “Stockholm Programme – An open and
secure Europe serving and protecting the citizens” from 2009 discusses how a well-managed migration
can be beneficial to all stakeholders, particularly within the context of the long-term demographic
challenges and the demand for labour that the Union is facing. But the programme also asserts that
the interconnection between migration and integration remains crucial. Likewise the European
Neighbourhood Policy, while originally mainly interested in helping to strengthen the capacity of
Europe’s neighbours to deal with migratory flows into their countries and concerted efforts through
partnerships to fight illegal immigration, has discussed the possibility of opening up labour market,
where mutually advantageous, between the EU and its neighbours to respond to gaps in national
A second question arises with regard to increased labour market mobility of persons between
Carone, et al (2010).
COM (2009) 180 final.
Commission of the European Communities (2007), Communication from the Commission- A Strong European Neighbourhood Policy,
COM (2007) 774 final. Brussels, 05/12/2007.
“What is the role of inter-regional and inter-EU migration in achieving territorial cohesion?”
In which regions does labour market mobility present a challenge to population dynamics and in which
is it an opportunity to foster employment and growth? The DEMIFER project has examined the
relationship between migration and population change with the result that migration in general will
tend to benefit the already affluent regions by helping to address the problems of ageing, but that
migration out of the poorer regions will only increase regional disparities. The DEMIFER results show
unequivocally that migration, both extra-European and intra-European, will have a significant impact
of demographic and labour force development in regions. What more, migration will benefit the richer
regions, as migrants move to regions that enjoy affluence, accessibility and a nice climate. Results
from the case studies show that areas with a well-performing R&D sector are better able to attract
more migrants. In general Eastern Europe will suffer from a loss of migration (except in the larger
agglomerates). As chapter 5 states, the only way to prevent the growth of regional disparities due to
migration would be by policies to reduce incentives to emigrate from poor regions and policies that
encourage poorer regions to attract more extra-European migration.
EU strategies and policies to promote territorial cohesion certainly help to address some of these
challenges. In the light of demographic and labour market challenges, increasing the attractiveness of
regions falling behind is just as important, or more important, than boosting the competitiveness of
already vibrant regions, that benefit from migration. The Territorial Agenda11 particularly points how
the need for new forms of urban-rural partnerships and promotion of regional clusters of innovation
as goals for the European territory. Regional policy instruments such as the Structural Funds, Cohesion
Funds and the Territorial Cooperation objective should be directed towards measures attracting and
retaining younger persons in these areas and redressing the exodus from shrinking areas. The Green
Paper on Territorial Cohesion12 recommends addressing these challenges in coordination with other
EU policies such as transport, environmental and energy policy and in the CAP.
A third question concerns the impact that climate change will have on migratory patterns into and
within the EU. Thus the pertinent question becomes:
“How is global climate change and its regional impacts expected to affect migratory trends in
The DEMIFER scenarios do not explicitly compute the likely number of migrants due to climate change,
but rather discuss the potential actions of the affected populations which involve either migration
away from climate change affected regions or mitigation of and adaptation to the effects of climate
change. The majority of the people expected to flee the negative effects of a changing climate will
presumably stay in their own countries. Thus DEMIFER examined intra-European migration in
connection with climate change. Compared to migration for other reasons, climate change migration
is expected to be very slight. While regions may be presented with additional territorial challenges, ie
in the Mediterranean regions may experience water shortages, winter sport regions may lose
revenues due to reduced tourism, and coastal areas may see changes in fisheries and aquaculture
sectors, these challenges can partially be mitigated by a focus on new technologies. More affluent
persons will be able to adapt better to extreme climates through seasonal migration and more
Ministers responsible for Territorial Development - Informal Ministerial Meeting on Territorial Cohesion (2007).
Territorial Agenda for the EU 2007 – 2010 Towards a More Competitive Europe of Diverse Regions.
Commission of the European Communities (2008a), Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion - Turning territorial
diversity into strength.
affluent regions will have the means to restructure certain sectors that are affected by climate change.
Thus climate change impacts will be an additional burden on the regions that are already affected by a
diminishing labour force and an ageing population.
Policy actions to help relieve affected regions from the challenges imposed by climate change and thus
discourage migration away from these areas include, as Europe 2020 recounts, a focus on “green
energy” technologies to help regions solve their energy needs, boost innovation and provide both lowskilled and high-skilled job opportunities. The EU White Paper on Adapting to Climate Change13
discusses how regions can become more resilient to climate change through coordinated EU action in
certain sectors (e.g. agriculture, water, biodiversity, fisheries, and energy networks) that are closely
integrated at EU level through the single market and common policies.
Considering policy on multi-levels
Demographic developments in Europe are multi-faceted and no one size fits all with regard to the
relationship between economic performance and demography and migratory flows. Making policy
recommendations to deal with demographic developments or considering policy considerations of
such developments is extremely difficult. For instance there is no clear-cut causality between a change
in age structure and its economic effects. Rather it is also the institutional and organisational
structural changes that take place concurrently which determine if age structure change has a
negative or positive effect on economic performance. Neither is the relationship between economic
performance and migration straightforward. Much has to do with the absence of homogeneous
migration data in Europe and the variety of definitions used to classify an immigrant/emigrant. Even
rigorous scientific exercises which are informed by established theory, such as the DEMIFER policy
scenarios elaborated in this report, cannot make definite statements about the impact of various
bundles of policies on demographic and migratory trends. The scenarios, however, are important
intellectual devices for thinking about alternative futures.
Thus considerations for policy should also be made in accordance with the territorial diversity of the
ESPON space and with consideration to scale, or the level on which policy is most viable. The multilevel, intersectoral nature of various policy options can give rise to both synergistic policies as well as
conflicting policy goals. In the ESPON 2006 programme the ESPON project on Enlargement of the
European Union (ESPON 1.1.314) discussed the idea of policy combinations to describe the processes
of coordinating coherent combinations of policies as a way to bridge the gap between policies
oriented towards competitiveness of the European territory and cohesion of the territory at all levels.
These principle-based (goal oriented, normative or top-down) policy combinations as well as capacitybased (action oriented or bottom-up) were delineated (ESPON 1.1.3 final report 2006, Persson and
Van Well 200515).
Both of these types of policy combinations can address the goals of regional competitiveness and
territorial cohesion, but principle-based considerations tend to be more focused on achieving regional
competitiveness through market-based mechanisms and structural measures while capacity-based
considerations often rely on cohesion-based policies that stress the social capacity and institutional
learning. As such they mirror to some extent the “Distribution-Fairness” dimension of the policy
scenarios. Principle-based policy considerations can characterise efforts to change demographic and
migratory trends. Capacity-based considerations help regions to accommodate their demographic
COM (Commission of the European Communities) (2009), White Paper – Adapting to climate change: Towards a European
framework for action. COM (2009) 147 final.
14 ESPON 1.1.3 (2006), Enlargement of the European Union and the wider European perspective as regards its polycentric
spatial structure, European Spatial Planning Observation Network (ESPON): Luxembourg. www.espon.eu.
15 Persson, Lars Olof and Lisa Van Well (2005), Spatial processes at macro, meso and micro level during EU enlargement, in: T.
Komornicki and K. Czapiewski, EUROPE XXI: New Spatial Relations in New Europe. Warsaw 2005.
In deciding a course of policy action it is important that policy combinations produce synergies rather
than trade-offs. For instance pursuing a policy such as “flexicurity” to encourage greater labour
participation and life-long learning can help overcome some of the impacts of an ageing society and
gaps on the labour market. However in order to also encourage fertility, countries need to ensure that
even under more flexible working forms that employees are offered adequate social welfare benefits,
such as sick leave, and maternity and parental leave. Only then will young couples feel secure and
optimistic enough about their current and future situations to start building or extending their
2. Policies accommodating demographic challenges in different types of
The DEMIFER typology in chapter 3 is based on current data (2005) and reflects the present
differences in the ESPON area. They thus depict a snapshot of demographic, labour market and
migratory developments in a generalised fashion. One of the values that spatial typologies provide is
that they help to suggest what types of policy considerations are most applicable to a set of regions.
Thus typologies help to design and prioritise policy measures to accommodate the challenges and
potentials in Europe. This in turn provides the basis for intervention developments for improving
European competitiveness and cohesion
Retaining favourable trends
The Euro Standard type of region has a fairly positive population development and an age structure
predominantly focused on the age group 35-55 years. The total fertility rate is above the ESPON
average and life expectancy is overall average. The net migration rate into the regions is largely
positive, thus contributing to an overall positive population development. Low fertility is not a major
problem, although ageing could be.
The Family Potentials type has a strong population development, with a good balance between
younger and older age groups. Because of high birth rates and moderate in-migration, the share of
elderly is below the ESPON average, despite the relatively high life expectancy.
The EU-LFS 2007 data patterns show that the Euro Standard and Family Potentials types have above
average GDP-PPP per capita and below average GDP-PPP growth rates. The share of migrants is above
average. The education level is high as is labour force participation. Unemployment is below average.
These regions are doing well by both socio-economic and demographic standards. The principle-based
goal for these regions would then be to retain the favourable trends and focus on competitive regional
development and continued pursuance of the Lisbon agenda goals and “smart growth” as advocated
by Europe 2020. If greater convergence within the regions is desired, cohesion oriented measures to
ensure that intra-regional or urban-rural disparities do not become a problem should also be
encouraged. Capacity-based measures such as building of social capital and networks within the
INTERREG or LEADER programmes are examples. Particularly projects that strive towards greater
social inclusion such as integrating immigrants, youth and/or women into local labour markets, would
help to ensure a favourable regional development.
Dealing with population decline
The Challenge of Labour Force type of region is characterised by a rather high share of young people,
but the challenge is to bring them into the labour force. Despite a large “potential” work force, this
type of region is losing population, both through a negative natural population balance and through
migration. A low total fertility rate exacerbates the out-migration population decline.
The Challenge of Decline type of regions have a negative population development, due both to low
total fertility rates and negative net migration. These are some of the “shrinking” regions of Europe.
The proportion of older workers (above 55 years) is significantly higher than in the rest of the ESPON
space and the share of younger adults (20-39 years) is below average, thus leading to a potential
problem in maintaining sufficient workforce to uphold social welfare schemes.
These types of regions are distinctive to many of the EU12 and the eastern part of Europe, as well as
shrinking regions peripheral areas of Scandinavia, Southern Europe and in Germany. In general the
GDP-PPP per capita is below average, and growth rates are above average. The share of migrants as
well as labour force participation is also below average. In most of these regions the share of highly
educated people is lower than the ESPON space average.
Many of the regions are lagging behind and population decline may be a major reason for this
together with unemployment rates. The peripheral location of these regions in relation to the
“Pentagon” may also be a contributing factor. These are the regions that the Territorial Agenda and
the Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion specifically point out as challenged for territorial
development. Policy goals for these regions will mainly be focused on retaining population and
boosting natural population growth, attracting immigrants (both international and non-EU) and
increasing opportunities for the labour force. Due to the territorial challenges it is important to
coordinate, as the Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion recommends, various principle-based EU
policies – transport and ICT infrastructure, energy and environmental policy in order to make the
regions attractive for industrial location, improve the nearness to markets and increase regional
At the same time capacity-based measures are also needed to make the regions attractive places to
live and work. Family-friendly policies such as subsidized childcare and generous parental leave (for
both mothers and fathers) are expected to help increase fertility rates and keep a large share of
women in their fertile years in employment and at the same time providing them with incentives to
remain in the region. This is an important precondition in dealing with declining populations, but alone
is not sufficient as witnessed by the Swedish and Finnish regions which fall into this category, despite
the renowned social welfare systems in these countries. The targets of Europe 2020 are particularly
important for these regions and many of the Europe 2020 flagship initiatives are pertinent, especially
more digitalisation, energy efficiency initiatives, support so that businesses and industries can
compete globally capacity building for new skills to increase labour participation. These types of
interventions can help attract migrants from within and without Europe.
Challenging the disparities
The Challenge of Ageing type regions are experiencing positive population development driven by a
positive net migration rate, but the proportion of the older age groups is significantly higher than it is
in the ESPON space age structure. Life expectancy is high and the share of elderly is significant. Birth
rates are low, but migration, especially from non-EU countries can partly mitigate the low fertility and
ageing population to some extent. Education levels are low, but so are unemployment rates (although
the gender gap is the widest in Europe).
The Young Potentials type regions have a young age structure and positive population development
due to both national population balance and positive net migration. This is partly due to the strong
inflow of migrants from non-EU countries. Disparities in education are apparent in these regions as
they have simultaneously a high share of people with tertiary education and a high share with only
basic education. There is also a considerable gender gap in labour market participation.
These types of regions are found mainly in the Mediterranean regions, English coastal areas, in the
former Cohesion country of Ireland and in some urban enclaves (such as Vienna). They constitute
demographic growth regions with above average GDP-PPP per capita and average labour force
participation (which does exhibit great gender and educational disparities). In the Young Potential
regions the GDP-PPP growth rates are above average, but in the Challenge of Ageing regions they are
below average. The unifying factors for these regions are strong net migration gains and population
increases. The labour force in these regions is over-represented (relative to the ESPON space average)
by fairly low-qualified, low-wage sectors such as agriculture, hotel and restaurants and construction
(the Challenge of Ageing regions). Tourism is an important industry in many of these regions and
attracts non-EU immigrants and young people into low-qualified, often seasonal work.
The first challenge that these regions face is orienting their economies towards more Lisbon-flavoured
goals, such as the knowledge economy and innovation to create not just more, but better jobs in the
regions. The second challenge of these types of regions is to ensure sustainable economic, social and
development in light of the increasing pressure that the growing population exerts on natural and
cultural resources. Principle-based policy options could thus be based on achieving sustainable and
smart growth, as advocated by the Lisbon Agenda and Europe 2020 in developing synergies between
economic growth, high quality job creation, environmental technologies and renewable energy
provision – synergies that can be applied in the traditional sectors like agriculture, fishing, tourism and
construction. This also meshes well with patterns of how regions in these countries already utilise
2007-2013 Cohesion Policy instruments in light of the Lisbon and Göteborg agendas (Nordregio,
Capacity-based policy options in these regions would help to absorb migrant workers into the labour
market and aid in their integration into society. This can be done by policy interventions at the
national level to raise education levels, build capacity for learning new skills, and fight pockets of
poverty and social exclusion, as Europe 2020 stresses in its flagship initiatives. Family-friendly policies
are also essential in these regions to narrow the gender-gap and reduce disparities. Local and regional
level projects within EU programmes such as INTERREG or LEADER can be useful in creating social
networks, and learning from experience how to change attitudes, especially for excluded groups in
labour market segments (integration or women or immigrants).
3. Policy bundles affecting changes in demographic and migratory
The previous section has detailed policy considerations that could be taken to accommodate or deal
with changes in demographic and migratory developments. This section discusses the role of policy
and policy bundles in impacting or changing demographic trends over time, as shown in the DEMIFER
scenarios. The scenarios developed within the DEMIFER project show how various policy bundles can
lead to different trajectories of demographic and migratory development. The basic hypothesis is that
specific policies relating directly to health, family and migration incentives and barriers, as well as
social and welfare policies will have significant impacts on demographic behaviour, at least in the
short-term. However as the scenarios warn, it is difficult to be precise about the impacts of a set of
policies on demography, as there may be other context-specific variables that intervene.
The overall framework for policy choices within the scenarios are depicted on two axes:
Economy/Environment where the strategic choices in Europe are either based on sluggish growth that
is linked to the existing resource base and current patterns of energy use, or growth that is de-coupled
from the use of environmental assets, and has solved the coming energy needs in an innovative and
sustainable way. The other strategic choice of policies is made by focusing on either European
competitiveness driven largely by market forces, or territorial cohesion driven to a greater degree by
social equity concerns. The four policy scenarios show what may be expected to happen if certain
Nordregio (2009), Evaluation of The Potential for regional Policy Instruments, 2007-2013, to contribute to the Lisbon and
Göteborg objectives for growth, jobs and sustainable development. for DG Regio and available at:
policy combinations are followed within the drivers of mortality, fertility, migration and labour
Policy scenario implications for mortality
There is a European-wide aim to decrease mortality rates and raise life expectancy through
investment in healthcare services, research into disease control and through promoting healthy
lifestyles. The policy bundles considered when looking at future paths for mortality include policies
that intervene with lifestyle choices, such as smoking, drinking and drug use or diet/obesity behaviour.
While national regulation can have an impact on the prevalence of practices such as smoking or
drinking, they also require behavioural changes to have an impact on the population. Also included in
the qualitative aspects of the mortality scenarios are the nature of medical advances and the
national/regional health inequalities are crucial for modelling mortality.
Scenario results for mortality for the Challenged Market Europe scenario display very large disparities
between disadvantaged regions in the East and the longevity in advantaged regions in the west and
north. The disparities are less pronounced in the Growing Social Europe scenario, the Limited Social
Europe Scenario and somewhat in the Expanding Market Scenario. In this regard mortality rates may
be more influenced by cohesion policy interventions than by market-oriented growth interventions.
Yet in addition to changing trends in mortality through better healthcare etc, it is also important to be
able to meet the challenges of an ageing population and this could better be achieved through a focus
on cost-effective growth in the Growing Social Europe and the Expanding Market Europe scenarios.
Policy scenario implications for fertility
Increased fertility will help to mitigate the effects of ageing, at least in the long-run. The qualitative
policy bundles considered in fertility scenarios include the degree of family vs individually oriented
goals in society, the impact of family-friendly policies such as subsidized day care or paid parental
leave, but also legal regulations on assisted conception and abortion laws. The policy bundles also
includes the impact of extra-European migration (especially from cultures that have a tradition of high
fertility), as well as the inequalities of national/regional fertility.
According to the scenarios, fertility rates will be highest in the Expanding Market Europe scenario,
even higher than in the Growing Social Europe scenario as might be expected, This is because in the
Expanding Market Europe there are pockets of regions with very high total fertility rates in the
Northern and Western European countries and very low fertility rates in the southern, central and
eastern regions. Within the Growing Social Europe scenario these disparities narrow, making it, from a
European point of view, vital to pursue family-friendly social welfare policies that boost fertility rates
as seen in the Northern countries, also in other parts of Europe.
Policy scenario implications for migration
While internal migration is positively related to economic growth and high economic growth increases
job-related mobility, there are hardly any political actions to explicitly stimulate migration to other
regions within a country. The Schengen Agreement, of course facilitates inter-state mobility and some
incentive schemes (Erasmus, Marie Curie), encourage the migration of young academics, but in
general there are few European-wide policy actions for this. Thus the scenario bundles for migration
include adjustments to relative attractiveness of each destination.
The policy scenarios show fairly little difference in internal migration (at least as calculated as
destination attractiveness ratio, DAR) between the four scenarios. Also the evidence for many
European countries suggests stability in the internal migration system: the same regions continue to
be attractive and the same regions continue to be unattractive for decades.
International migration scenarios indicate that total migration is moderate in the Growing Social
Europe and Challenged Market Europe, high in the Expanding Market Europe scenario and low in the
Limited Social Europe scenario. Thus if high economic growth in certain areas of Europe is not checked
by territorial cohesion policies the result may be greater movement of job seekers from lagging
regions of Europe into the already affluent regions. If the goal is to retain people and workers in
countries with higher emigration rates, such as the Eastern European countries, then territorial
cohesion considerations, as expounded in the Territorial agenda are appropriate.
Extra-European migration will become increasingly important to help deal with the ageing population
of the European space. In the Expanding Market Europe scenario extra-European immigration is
expected to be very high, especially in major cities such as Madrid or Paris. This pattern is also seen,
although not quite as strong in the Growing Social Europe scenario and is faintest in the Limited Social
Europe scenario. While a great influx off extra-European Immigration will help many regions address
demographic and labour market challenges, it will also require social policies to integrate a large group
of immigrants into society as well as greater inter-state coordination in immigration policy.
Policy scenario implications for the labour force
The qualitative policy bundles implied in the labour force scenarios include trends in participation, the
participation of young persons and older persons as well as female participation and policies and
attitudes towards full time, part time and self-employment. National family policy can have a
fundamental influence on the labour supply of women. For example in the Nordic countries, family
and labour market policies are largely organised to facilitate the reconciliation of employment and
parental responsibilities for both parents, helping to solve the work-life balance.
A shrinking labour force will be a problem for many regions in the future, but this will affect fewer
regions under the Expanding Market Europe scenario and to a slightly lesser extent the Growing Social
Europe scenario more than in the other scenarios. Thus the labour market is expected to be much
more vital in more regions of Europe under a general policy scenario axis where resources are used in
such a sustainable and cost-efficient manner that the post-carbon economy as a whole continues to
grow. It will be essential to reduce the number of inactive people on the labour market in order to
mitigate the effects of ageing. Thus pursuing policies that can help implement the Lisbon agenda and
the sustainable development strategy will have positive implications on labour market dynamics.
In conclusion, if policies are adopted that solve the current economic crisis, address long term climate
change and resource depletion challenges (the Growing Social Europe and Expanding Market Europe
scenarios), then the population of Europe will grow by nearly a fifth in the period to 2050.
4. Combining policy considerations
The growth rate of labour supply depends on both changes in the size and age structure of the
working age population and the level of labour force participation rates. Thus the growth of labour
supply can be raised by policies aimed at affecting changes in the size and age structure of the
population and policies aimed at improving the dynamics of the labour market. The size and age
structure of the population depend on the levels of fertility and - to a lesser extent – of mortality and
on the size and direction of migration flows. Thus policies affecting demographic and migratory flows
will have an affect on the growth of the labour force.
One of the main causes of the decline in the growth of the working age population is the low level of
fertility. If policies aimed at increasing the level of fertility would lead to a decrease in the labour
supply of women, for instance due to a reduction in the number of working hours per week or due to
an increase in maternity and parental leave, the immediate effect on the size of the labour force
would be negative. Thus policies should aim at improving facilities for women to combine having a
paid job and the raising of children. However, providing facilities may not be enough since the level of
fertility depends on the general economic situation as well. If young couples do not have faith in the
future, for instance if the level of unemployment is high and income levels are low, they tend to have
only a small number of children. Therefore policies aiming to raise the level of fertility will not be
effective if the general economic situation will not improve. Moreover, disparities in the level of
fertility across regions and countries will not be reduced if economic differences are persistent.
Obviously policies affecting the level of fertility will have effects on the growth of the working age
population in the long run only. These policies will not help in reducing labour shortages in the next
two decades or so.
All across Europe life expectancy has been increasing during the last decades. In most countries,
mortality rates at higher ages have been declining. To the extent that the additional years are spent in
good health, this trend makes it possible to increase the statutory age of retirement. An increasing
number of European governments has already decided or is considering raising the retirement age.
There are sharp differences in the level of mortality across European regions. Especially in eastern
parts of Europe there are regions where the level of premature deaths is very high. However, in
western countries there are big differences between rich and poor regions as well. Reduction of
premature mortality will have a positive impact on the size of the working age population. However, in
order to have an impact on labour supply, it is not sufficient to increase life expectancy. The additional
years alive should be spent in good health. One of the main causes of differences in life expectancy
and in health are life style factors, such as smoking, unhealthy diets and lack of exercise. Thus in order
to reduce inequalities, policies aimed at increasing the age of retirement should be combined with
policies stimulating healthy behaviour.
If migrants move from regions with high unemployment to regions with shortages in the labour
market, that may help in solving labour market problems in the affluent regions. However, outflow of
young migrants may cause a negative vicious circle in poor regions, as population size may shrink, the
working age population may age strongly and the number of young families may drop which may
cause a decline in economic growth and as a consequence unemployment may increase further which
in turn may increase the outflow of young adults. Thus migration between regions may increase rather
than decrease regional disparities. The same applies to migration between ESPON countries, as
migrants tend to move from poor to rich countries. Thus policies aimed at increasing mobility between
European regions and countries may reduce rather than increase cohesion. They tend not to result in
win-win outcomes but rather in zero-sum results: gains for some regions imply losses for others.
Policies aimed to stimulate migration should not be developed in isolation but can be effective only if
they are part of policy bundles aimed to improve living conditions in poor regions, for example by
improving the availability of jobs, housing, schools and the quality of the environment.
Migration from outside Europe may increase the size of the working age population without leading to
decreases in labour supply in other European regions. Even though governments of many European
countries have a restrictive immigration policy, shortages in the labour market due to ageing may lead
to an increase in immigration from outside Europe. The European Commission has suggested that
policies should be developed for allowing economic migration in order to meet the needs of the
labour market. However, past experiences have shown that massive streams of migrants may cause
social problems as the current cultural abilities to integrate migrants are inappropriate. There is a
tension between preserving the national identity and developing multiculturalism. Thus immigration
policies may be beneficial only if integration policies are successful. Furthermore, as migrants tend to
move to economically healthy regions, regional disparities may increase, particularly as regions with a
healthy economy tend to be better able to attract higher skilled migrants.
In addition to influencing the size of the working age population, policies may be aimed to
accommodate demographic developments. One policy option is to take measures to raise labour force
participation. Since in poor regions labour force participation rates tend to be lower than in affluent
regions, raising labour force participation rates may be helpful in decreasing disparities across regions.
However, increases in labour force participation will be effective only if the labour market performs
well, otherwise it may lead to an increase in unemployment. In several regions labour force
participation of women can be increased strongly. This requires policies to improve the compatibility
of work and childcare and actions aimed at reducing gender discrimination in the area of career
development. An increasing number of countries has been introducing policies to increase the
retirement age. However, this will be effective only if employers are prepared to employ older
employees, if the aged will remain healthy and if employees are able to attempt career changes. Thus
policies to raise the statutory age of retirement are not sufficient.
Economic growth is not just determined by the volume of labour supply, but by labour productivity as
well. Growth in labour productivity may be raised by technological progress and by investments in
education and training. Increases in labour productivity are one main cause of improvements in living
standards. To the extent that policies aimed to increase the size of the labour force would not be
effective, increases in labour productivity will be needed to compensate for the effects of
demographic ageing rather than to contribute to further improving living standards.
Part E. Outputs- Conclusions- Limitations
The DEMIFER project highlights the major demographic trends that structure the European territory,
in a general context of policy considerations. These policy considerations take into account the linkage
between the demographic dynamics of the ESPON space, possible economic stakes and policy
orientations, cohesion and competitiveness.
The demographic system is resilient, but when the impact of cumulated changes reaches a certain
level this resilience and the inertia of the population components modify its trajectory, leading to
situations of moderate or important crisis. All these negative impacts are announced by trends
explored by the DEMIFER, trends that describe the situation of population change, migration, working
age population stocks or ageing in the near past (2000-2007).
The combination of these trends is used in order to provide two policy design supporting tools - a
regional classification and scenarios of evolution limited at 2050 year. The classification works around
two key words - challenge and potential. The scenarios take place in different situations - low
economic growth with cohesive policy orientation, sustainable economic growth with competitiveness
dominating the policy decision etc.
The annexes of the project are also a valuable source of information regarding the construction of
scenarios or the interpretation of the typology. These annexes work as technical reports that
synthesize the methodological steps used for different chapters or thematic. As the project produced
a large amount of maps, all these products are available in the DEMIFER Atlas of Maps, also available
for download. The case studies that allowed methodologies to be tested and relevant key findings to
be derived are presented in different deliverables. The analysis of the demographic phenomena based
on these case studies is unequal. For example, the analysis of the Macroregion2 Romania focus on the
NUTS3 level, in Greece (Thessaly) the maps are provided at LAU1 level.
The analysis of these demographic changes is contextualized in order to provide a set of policy
recommendations. Even if thematically presented, these policy considerations converge towards a
clear conclusion - the combination of different measures represent the best option. It is a normal
conclusion because measures affecting migration will also affect the working age population and
eventually the regional economic context. In the same time, these measures are not spatially
bordered and the effects can diffuse, becoming efficient by contagion effect.
Resources for further reading
Bogardi J (2007), Environmental Refugees: the Forgotten Migrants, Environmental Migration: Flight or
Choice, online at:
Christian Aid (2007) Human tide: The real migration crisis. Christian Aid Report. London, online at:
http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/human-tide.pdf., Cited in Warner et al (2009).
Commission of the European Communities (2008a), Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion -Turning territorial
diversity into strength.
Commission of the European Communities (2008b), Regions 2020 - An Assessment of Future Challenges for
EACH FOR (2009), Environmental Change and Forced Migration Scenarios Synthesis report, online at:
EEA (2008), Impacts of Europe's changing climate - 2008 indicator-based assessment,Joint EEA-JRC-WHO
report EEA Report No 4/2008 - JRC Reference Report No JRC47756, online at:
ESPON 1.1.3 (2006), Enlargement of the European Union and the wider European perspective as regards its
polycentric spatial structure, European Spatial Planning Observation Network (ESPON): Luxembourg.
European Commission (2008) EU Action Against Climate Change: Adapting to climate change, online at:
European Commission (2009) White paper - Adapting to climate change: towards a European framework for
action, online at:
Eurostat (2008), European Labour Force Survey 2007. – Eurostat, Luxembourg.
Faludi, A. (2006), From European Spatial Development to Territorial Cohesion Policy. Regional Studies, Vol.
40 (6) pp 667-678.
IPCC (2007), Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I,II and III to the Fourth
Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Core Writing Team, Pachauri, R.K.
and Reisinger, A. (Eds.). IPCC, Geneva,Switzerland. pp 104, online at:
Lutz W (2009), What can demographers contribute to understanding the link between Population and
Climate Change, Population Network Newsletter, 41, online at:
Nordregio (2009), Evaluation of The Potential for regional Policy Instruments, 2007- 2013, to contribute to
the Lisbon and Göteborg objectives for growth, jobs and sustainable development. for DG Regio and
available at: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/sources/docgener/evaluation/rado_en.htm
Persson, Lars Olof and Van Well, Lisa (2005), Spatial processes at macro, meso and micro level during EU
enlargement, in: Komornicki, T. and Czapiewski, K. EUROPE XXI: New Spatial Relations in New Europe.
Refugee Studies Centre (2008), Forced Migration Review, Climate change and Displacement, [Marion
Couldrey M and Herson M (eds)], online at: http://www.fmreview.org/FMRpdfs/FMR31/FMR31.pdf
Warner K, Erhart C, Sherbinin, A de, Adamo S (2009), In Search of Shelter: Mapping the Effects of Climate
Change on Human Migration and Displacement, Cooperative for ESPON 2013 55 Assistance and Relief
Everywhere), online at: http://www.ciesin.columbia.edu/documents/clim-migr-report-june09_media.pdf
Wilkinson and Pickett (2009), The Spirit Level: why more equal societies almost always do better. Allen Lane,
Annex 1– Deliverables & Case studies
List of deliverables produced by DEMIFER
D1 Report on effects of demographic and migratory flows on European regions
D2 Causes and impacts of migration
D3 Typology of regions
D4 Multilevel scenario model
D5 Reference scenarios
D6 Report on scenarios and a database of scenario drivers
D7 Regional population dynamics: a report assessing the effects of demographic developments on
regional competitiveness and cohesion
D8 Report on climate change and migration scenario
D9 Report on policy implications
D11 Atlas of maps
D12 Case studies
2. List of case studies
Source of table: DEMIFER final Report, p.16
Annex 2 – Training Support- Questions
Major DEMIFER questions
1) What is DEMIFER?
2) Why policy designers and practitioners should look seriously to the relevant key findings of this project?
3) What is a typology of regions?
4) What is a scenario?
5) Tools and vocabulary
1. What is DEMIFER?
DEMIFER is the acronym for Demographic and Migratory Flows affecting European Regions and cities. It is
an applied research project that identifies the main demographic challenges that affect the ESPON space
and suggest a number of demographic evolution scenarios that help policy design in the future. The main
areas of research cover a variety of topics of interest: the size and the structure of the labor force, the
impact of climate change on migration, the options of policy adjustment to demographic changes and the
construction of relevant scenarios that describe these mutations. One quick overlook on the project
deliverables shows that it is an ambitious scientific task that answers to some key scientific questions:
• What are current demographic and migratory flows like? How distinct are they? What are the regions of
• Why do some regions attract highly skilled people whereas others do not?
• What are the causes of migration (e.g. economic development, development on labor market)? What are
the impacts on different types of European regions and cities (e.g. regarding regional competitiveness,
provision of public services) and which effects will migration have on European cohesion?
• What are the relations between migratory flows to the ESPON countries and other major territorial
challenges like accelerating globalization and particularly climate change?
• What are the financial consequences for the regions of origin of migrants (e.g. size of remittances of
• Who is migrating? What are the qualifications of migrants coming to Europe? How does their profile fit
different types of regions and cities of Europe?
• How and to which degree does the development of different individual factors (economic, social,
environmental) impact on demographic and migratory flows? (Project Specification, DEMIFER, 2008)
A good starting point in the exploration of the project is the Final Report, available at
http://www.espon.eu/main/Menu_Projects/Menu_AppliedResearch/demifer.html. The annexes (thematic
- Annex 4 Multilevel scenario model and case studies - Annex D12 - 7 Piemonte, IT) function both as
technical reports and explanations for the research topics.
2. Why policy designers and practitioners should look seriously to the relevant key findings of this
The demographic challenges of the ESPON space are not only a scientific topic of interest; they are also a
political stake. The main drivers of the demographic issues in the future should be examined in relation
with an economic and environmental context difficult to predict. Without setting a priority list, these
drivers are clearly mentioned in the DEMIFER study:
1) the ageing of the population. This characteristic of the ESPON space, even if unequally affecting
territories, has a deep impact on the number of elderly persons and on the sustainability of some social
services and social security aspects in the future (retirement). This problem should be politically addressed
in a more sophisticated demographic context that includes labor productivity, cohort replacement
rhythm, regional attractiveness of the skilled migration etc.
2) the slowing population growth. In the recent years, the population of the ESPON space has been
increasing slowly. The two extension waves of the EU functioned as a boost of growth, but in the future
this aspect will present a more reduced importance. Contrarily, different studies (including DEMIFER)
accept that the ESPON countries will start losing population with all the inherent consequences:
degradation of the labor force reserves, mutations in the structure of the population, new patterns of
migration. All these consequences are subject of policy design and decision.
3) the switch from natural growth to migration as main driver of population growth. This issue should be
considered in relation to some basic geographical aspects. The regions that are attractive to migrants will
cope differently with the negative demographic trends. These regions will rebalance the elderly
dependency ratio, they will be positively affected in the age structure of population or they will have a
better control on the short-term demographic mutations. The emigrant regions will see their demographic
structure severely affected by the loss of young population and labor force, they will register higher
rhythm of ageing and they will become more sensitive to the economic and social shocks.
The actual portrait of the demographic mutations in the ESPON space shows high inequalities in the
distribution of the main indicators. In the case of the fertility rate, the discrepancy between France (2.0)
and Romania (1.3) for the period 2000-2007 is symptomatic for the territorial fractures that shape the EU.
The distribution of the TFR (total fertility rate) also depends on the scale of data representation. According
to the DEMIFER report, at NUTS2 scale the fertility rate is problematic for more than a half of the regions (<
1.5), while only seven regions present a rate higher than 2. In its spatial distribution, this indicator reflects
mutations in the social and the economic context and in the linkage between these contexts and the
demographic behavior. From the scientific analysis to the policy design, the applied research retains the
mega-trends and the regional specificities.
Nevertheless, understanding all these trends also means understanding how they vary and combine in
different regions of the ESPON space. Policy designers and decision makers should explore the regional
typology and the evolution scenarios proposed by DEMIFER, both being a frame of territorial analysis that
should be used before choosing the good mix of policies.
3. What is a typology of regions?
The demographic challenges that regions will face are different, as the indicator's distribution is reflected
on the maps. Based on these challenges a typology of regions was proposed in order to synthesize the main
trends that affect the ESPON space. As a method, the typology regroups regions with the same pattern or
values on various indicators. Scientifically, there is no good or recommended way to propose a typology
because all classifications are a mix between statistic methods and expert opinion. The main aim of a
typology is to identify maximum similarities between the regions and to "cut" the classes there where the
maximum of dissimilarity appear. In other words, researchers look for homogeneous classes from the
perspective of the indicators, while maximizing the differences between them. In the DEMIFER report we
will observe that the classification of regions as a function of the different demographic challenges is based
on the identification of three major trends:
a) Regions with favorable trends.
This class presents two sub-types "Euro-Standard" and "Family
Potentials" characterized by values that are close to the average of the ESPON space for all the variables
(age groups – 20 to 39 years, 65 years and older and the components of population development - the
natural population balance and the net migration rate for 2001-2005). The Euro-Standard regions are
naturally stagnating but compensating by a higher attractiveness to migrants. The Family-Potential regions
show a good balance between the age groups and a moderate in-migration.
b) Regions dealing with population decline. In 2005, there were 99 NUTS2 included in this major class
characterized by risks of demographic shrinking. The first type was called "Challenge of Labor Force"
because it illustrates the difficulties to rebalance a satisfying stock of working population with negative
trends in migration and natural growth. The second type is labeled "Challenge of Decline" and concentrates
specific demographic problems: high levels of external migration especially affecting the young cohort and
low fertility levels.
c) Regions challenging disparities. Some of the European regions experience population increasing by the
positive migration rate, in a context of inquiring disproportion of the older age groups. This type is called
"Challenge of Ageing", but the challenges are also related to the low fertility rates that makes the
demographic context a policy topic of major importance. For the second type ("Young Potentials"), the
challenges of inner disparities are linked to the economic and social context. These regions benefits from an
out of ordinary young group's structure combined with an increase of the number of inhabitants, partially
due to the immigration.
The over-seas territories appear as a special type in the typology and in the map. Their progressive
integration in the ESPON space demographic trends represent a specific issue that should be differently
addressed by the policy design, taking into account their geographic specificities. With seven major types of
NUTS2 regions and with different path of evolution and behavior, the demographic challenges can be easily
synthesized on maps. The typology acts like an investigation/exploration tool of a reality which risks
becoming much more sophisticated.
4. What is a scenario?
The scenarios are useful tools that enable scientists and policy designers to explore the most probable
manifestations of the regional demographic realities ... in the future. For a policy designer or a decision
maker it is important to think about the future because we are all forced to cope with it (W.Allen).
Depending on the geographical scale, the number of different paths for every spatial unit increases
exponentially as the number of variables that one includes in a scenario-model develops. Just imagine that
you have to model the demographic behavior of a region with only two variables (natural balance and
migratory balance). The possible cases of figure (paths) are quit numerous: +/+, +/-, -/-, -/+, 0/0, 0/-, 0/+,
+/0, -/0. All the combinations between the two variables are theoretically (statistically) legitimated. If we
multiply and combine the possible paths with all the regions (NUTS2, for example) in the ESPON space, one
would be surprised by the number of individual scenarios that can occur. One more variable or one more
region in the model's equation complicates the situation, but scientists are forced to avoid "simplicity" in
order to better describe the reality. Obviously, not all the possibilities present the same chance to become
reality, especially when we filter the information with good parameters. In the DEMIFER Project, the
quantitative models (MULTIPOLES, Kupiszewski and Kupiszewska (1998, 2005) that describe the regional
evolutions in the future are based on a set of equations that focus on the estimation of stocks and rates of
An eventual correction of the model, based on local indicators of spatial auto-correlation and distances
could be envisaged in order to refine the results, involving a complete recompilation of the computer code.
From a quantitative point of view, the model is complicated enough, so we don't insist on the technical
part, but is necessary to emphasize that the DEMIFER scenarios where modeled on two major axes of policy
decision: Economy-Environment and Distribution-Fairness, both of them including a large number of
qualitative and expert-choice dilemmas. It's the combination of these two dimensions that produces a
number of contextualized policy scenarios that can shape decision in the future, decisions focusing on the
major demographic challenges.
These two axes synthesize the two major policy options that the ESPON space faces nowadays: territorial
cohesion vs. territorial competitiveness. The versus is just a figure of style because the two meta-policies
are circularly linked and obviously adjusted by conjunctures of unpredictable episodes of disorder (global
financial crisis, sovereign debt problems, energy prices, alimentary security etc.) The demographic
challenges may partially depend on policy choices and no short-run/term decision solutions are available,
the limit between uncertainty in estimation and probability being difficult to establish. Despite conceptual
and methodological limitations, the quantitative approach (mathematical and statistical formalization) and
the qualitative exploration of the policy options reduced the number of possible path to four relatively
trusty assumptions with impact on the demographic challenges: `Growing Social Europe` (GSE), `Expanding
Market Europe` (EME), `Limited Social Europe`(LSE) and `Challenged Market Europe` (CME).
5. Tools and vocabulary
The following texts present some specific terms, methods and tools used in DEMIFER project. In the first
two fragments, examples of policy recommendation are ending the texts. Explore these texts critically and
check for their consistence. Answer to the following questions:
How the typology shall help policy designers?
What is the difference between Euro Standard and Family Potentials type?
What challenge means in the context of Regions dealing with population decline?
What are the key words in the text describing the demographic model?
Regions with favorable trends. The Euro Standard type of region is close to the overall average of the
ESPON area, but the age structure is slightly older. Overall, a stagnating natural population balance and a
positive net migration rate are prevalent. This type of region has a fairly positive population development
and an age structure predominantly focused on the age group 35-55 years. The total fertility rate is above
the ESPON average and life expectancy is overall average. The net migration rate into the regions is largely
positive, thus contributing to an overall positive population development. Low fertility is not a major
problem, although ageing could be. The Family Potentials type has a strong population development, with a
good balance between younger and older age groups. Because of high birth rates and moderate inmigration, the share of elderly is below the ESPON average, despite the relatively high life expectancy. The
Euro Standard and Family Potentials types have above average GDP-PPP per capita and below average
GDP-PPP growth rates. The share of migrants is above average. The education level is high as is labor force
participation. Unemployment is below average. These regions are doing well by both socio-economic and
demographic standards. The policy goal for these regions would then be to retain the favorable trends
and focus on competitive regional development and continued pursuance of the Lisbon agenda goals and
“smart growth” as advocated by Europe 2020. (DEMIFER Final Report, p IV)
Regions dealing with population decline. The Challenge of Labor Force type of region is characterized by a
rather high share of young people, but the challenge is to bring them into the labor force. Despite a large
“potential” work force, this type of region is losing population, both through a negative natural population
balance and through migration. A low total fertility rate exacerbates the out-migration population decline.
The Challenge of Decline type of regions has a negative population development, due both to low total
fertility rates and negative net migration. These are some of the “shrinking” regions of Europe. The
proportion of older workers (above 55 years) is significantly higher than in the rest of the ESPON space and
the share of younger adults (20-39 years) is below average, thus leading to a potential problem in
maintaining sufficient workforce to uphold social welfare schemes. These two types of regions are
distinctive to many of the EU12 and the eastern part of Europe, as well as shrinking regions peripheral areas
of Scandinavia, Southern Europe and in Germany. In general the GDP-PPP per capita is below average. The
share of migrants as well as labor force participation is also below average. In most of these regions
(especially the Challenge of the Labor Force) the share of highly educated people is lower than the ESPON
space average. Many of these regions are lagging behind and these are the regions that the Territorial
Agenda and the Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion specifically point out as challenged for territorial
development. Policy goals for these regions will mainly be focused on retaining population and boosting
natural population growth, attracting immigrants (both international and non-EU) and increasing
opportunities for the labor force. . (DEMIFER Final Report, p IV)
In order to assess the effects of demographic trends and migratory flows on European regions, a forecasting
tool is needed that would allow to put together the available quantitative information and generate a set of
scenarios of population development. Thus, a specialized multiregional population projection model is
needed, able to handle the diversity of demographic patterns in Europe as well as the complex interaction
patterns related with three different levels of migration streams: internal, international intra-Europe and
extra-Europe. In addition to forecasting the impact of future developments in fertility, mortality and
migration on regional population growth and on changes in age structures, the model should also show
possible developments of the labor force, taking into account future changes in economic activity rates.
(DEMIFER Deliverable 4 Multilevel scenario model, p1)
Keep in mind
1. DEMIFER is the acronym for Demographic and Migratory Flows affecting European Regions and cities. It
is an applied research project that identifies the main demographic challenges that affect the ESPON space
and suggest a number of demographic evolution scenarios that help policy design in the future. The main
areas of research cover a variety of topics of interest: the size and the structure of the labor force, the
impact of climate change on migration, the options of policy adjustment to demographic changes and the
construction of relevant scenarios that describe these mutations.
2. The demographic challenges of the ESPON space are not only a scientific topic of interest; they are also a
political stake. The main drivers of the demographic issues in the future should be examined in relation
with an economic and environmental context difficult to predict. These drivers are identified as: the ageing
of the population, the slowing population growth and the switch from natural growth to migration as main
driver of population growth.
3. Based on the demographic challenges a typology of regions was proposed in order to synthesize the
main trends that affect the ESPON space. As a method, the typology regroups regions with the same
pattern or values on various indicators. Three major types were identified and mapped:
a) Regions with favorable trends.
b) Regions dealing with population decline.
c) Regions challenging disparities
4. The DEMIFER scenarios where modeled on two major axes of policy decision: Economy-Environment and
Distribution-Fairness, both of them including a large number of qualitative and expert-choice dilemmas.
It's the combination of these two dimensions that produces a number of contextualized policy scenarios
that can shape decision in the future, decisions focusing on the major demographic challenges. The labels
of these scenarios suggest the position on the two mentioned axis of policy decision: `Growing Social
Europe` (GSE), `Expanding Market Europe` (EME), `Limited Social Europe` (LSE) and `Challenged Market
5. Explore the three texts and answer the questions.
Annex 3 – Training Support- Simulations and
exercises - a training tool for decision
ESPON TRAIN - DEMIFER training support:
A pleasant map is a very useful tool in order to understand how reality is organized at regional level. Maps,
graphs and interpretations are common in both scientific and policy design speech and analysis. This
educational material will be based on two kinds of maps: those that DEMIFER project already made and
included in the reports and your own maps, the cartographic products that you will build using the
indicators developed during the project life-time. There are two cases of figure here. In the first case, as a
trainee, you are already familiarized with maps` conception and interpretation, during your academic
studies. Nevertheless, it is important for you to revise and better fix these skills and it might also be
interesting to see how scientific knowledge can be linked to the policy design. In the second case, as a
trainee, you are used to work with maps without knowing how geographers made them and what choices
stay behind for every cartographic output. You might also learn how to distinguish between nice but
useless maps and not so pretty but inquisitive ones.
Making maps is not the monopole of geography. Historians, economists, sociologist, they all map the reality
from different perspectives and they read, in different purposes. Even you, consciously or not, you use a
mental map, a fragmented and incomplete cognitive spatial representation of reality, in some of the most
trivial contexts of your quotidian actions: shopping, commuting, exploring new places etc. Reading a map is
finally a matter of our representation about how the reality functions. One should not be surprised if he
cannot read a map or understand a spatial trend; the possibility that the map does not overlay his
representation of reality is the possible explanation.
Nowadays, with the GIS techniques and with so much demand on cartographic products and spatial
intelligence, we assist to a real inflation of maps. As in economy, inflation risks to devalue cartographic
products that took hours of intellectual work, just because the time to read them is too short. In this case,
why contribute to this inflation and learn how to make maps using DEMIFER indicators? The answer is
simple, before cherishing or ignoring a map, you have to know how it's made.
Experience in map-making established some codes of cartography that are generally respected. In the
canonic geography, choosing the proper color scheme, the right symbol, a balanced proportion between
legend and map size are uncontested guidelines. In the radical cartography, this formalization is sometimes
sacrificed in the name of the message and map`s comprehension. This is an opportunity for the trainees to
get familiar with some formal rules of cartography and with the basic design of maps.
Spatial auto-correlation sound so technical that only quantitative geographers and statisticians seem to use
this term. Variance, standard deviation, quartiles, Jenk`s algorithm can also look exotic. As you will learn in
this chapter, the hermetic terms are just scientific ways to express some common sense features of the
How to get the data and the basemaps ?
Every map links statistical information (variables and indicators) to a geometry (a basemap). The
representation of data by geometry involves some logical choices. There are three different types of
geometries that a map can use: points, surfaces, lines. There is much more forms in which a variable can be
expressed: quantitative, qualitative, ordinal, nominal, continuous or discrete (see an introduction to geostatistics if needed). The three spatial patterns (points, surfaces, lines) are not always compatible with
every form of variable or indicator manifestation. That's why logical choices interfere while map mapping.
The basic ingredients are, however, data and geometry.
The main way to get data from the DEMIFER project is to use the ESPON projects Internet page. Visit the
http://www.espon.eu/ and check the Scientific Tools tab. Many results (indicators and variables) are
conserved on the ESPON 2013 Database platforms, including DEMIFER. Check the regional data -web
interface link and you will be transferred to this new option of data collection. The web interface of the
ESPON 2013 Database is now ready to use. As you will see, you can search for data using different queries:
by project or by thematic. An interrogation by project seems more logical, in this context. Consequently,
choose DEMIFER project in the interrogation tab and proceed to the data extraction (download). It is not
wise to download everything from the beginning, make an option. We suggest you to get familiar with
some basic indicators, such as Change in Population aged 20-39. The indicator can be collected from the
Age Structure Data package (datasets). After downloading Change in Population aged 20-39, explore the
file's metadata (about data). A short description of the dataset, of the data origin (lineage) and details
about the indicator are available in the first pages of the Excel file. The next pages contain the values of the
indicator at different spatial level (in this case, NUTS1 and NUTS2 regions). A more in-depth exploration of
the files will show you that the data have multiple sources (check the lineage sheet and the label
distinction). If a large amount of data has Eurostat as source, information for Denmark and Scotland is
provided by national/regional data providers.
The file that you have downloaded is now ready to be analyzed (not mapped). A simple data check will
show you how the values organize, as a statistic variable:
Maximum value: Cyprus 37%. Is this an outlier (a suspect value that can be wrong - 3.7 instead)? A further
check is needed on some alternative data providers.
Minimum value: Sachsen-Anhalt in Germany -3.14 %.
Average value : -0.40% (without Cyprus) or -0.28% (with Cyprus). Regions such as Alsace (France) or
Peloponnisos (Greece) are closed to this value.
After this preliminary data check, we can proceed to the next step : collecting geometries.
Basemap sources :
The analysis of data is incomplete when geometry to link the data (like in a map) is missing. If the data
access is regulated or organized by official providers, access to proper geometries is much more
ambiguous. The administrative changes in the geometry make the collection of basemaps a task that
demands respecting some rules:
1) get your geometry from official sources. They are validated, so you will always know some basic details
(scale, projection, geographical coordinates).
2) understand the logics of the layers organization (NUTS0 means countries, NUTS1 macro-regions, NUTS2
regions, NUTS3 administrative frame such as departments in France, judete in Romania etc.)
3) if possible, one will choose the finest scale of map editing (the smaller the number, the better the
precision). Don't bother about generalization issues, when applying your map on a template. You can retemplate easier the products, than rebuilding the map.
4) depending on your intentions, the projections of the maps are much or more interfering with your work.
When looking to express accessibility on the map, one will need an equidistant projection. If the subject of
the map is about density, conserving areas is a better option. Check the projection and the system of
5) for different reasons, sometimes geographers work with "not so official" geometries. In this case, the
basemap can work as a choropleth support, but it shall not be used to calculate topological statistics or
geometry (area, perimeter, connectivity).
As an exercise, try to collect some official geometry that covers the ESPON space. A good entry-point is the
GIS division of the Eurostat (GISCO). Check the steps as they follow:
- http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/eurostat/home (Eurostat page is the entry-point)
- check the Statistics tab and you will launch this address:
- check GISCO Geographical Information and Maps:
- check the References tab in order to get access to the Administrative units/Statistical units tab :
- download NUTS_03M_2006_SH.zip from the Administrative units/Statistical units page. It is also an
indication about the scale - 1 : 3 Million. Some other "dressing" map layers can be downloaded: networks,
airports, countries etc. They can be used to provide some extra-information, if needed. Depending on your
current map software (licensed GIS or free-software), you will have to convert the spatial data so that your
platform could digest the information.
Linking data and geometry - different paths
One of the most reachable map-making software for you is Philcarto. it is free to download, easy to
understand and manipulate and its output is compatible with the most common graphic software. For
some basic (and advanced) tasks it is a must have in your computer's library. With the XPhil utility
(downloadable for free) you can convert your shape basemap into an Adobe Illustration geometry. All you
have to do it's to properly match the identifiers by the code, save the file with the indicators to map and
proceed to the mapping exercise. For the GIS users the file with the indicators (downloaded from the
ESPON 2013 Database) should be related to the geometry using the common Geo Object Code in the join
process. Changes of field format and label should also be taken into consideration. Looking again at the
data format will help us to better chose our mapping decision. The indicator that we can map, extracted
from the DEMIFER database output, is expressed in relative values, with both negative and positive
The cartographic products that you can make, exploiting DEMIFER indicators and free geometry, will look
like the map of relative change in population for 20-39 years. If the map looks strange to you, remember
that this map is not projected in a system that is familiar for you. Take a few moments and see what kind of
geographical distribution you observe on this map.
Figure 8: Relative change in population age 20-39 years - annual average change for 2001-2005
Control list – how to download data and geometry
Visit the ESPON site and check the Scientific Tools tab.
Check the Regional Data - Web interface link
Once you reach the main page with indicators, take a moment to explore the database structure. DEMIFER
is not the only project of applied research that can be downloaded. Explore the indicators of accessibility,
the demography updates or other results, in order to get familiar with the interrogation structure, the
semantics, the links and the explanations. The data coverage is expressed in %. For the indicators produced
in the DEMIFER project, the data is generally available at more than 90 %. Note the details that look
interesting to you and for the map: dataset name, spatial coverage, name of the indicators etc.
3. Explore the interface and choose DeMIFER
4. Start searching for DEMIFER indicators and download Change in Population aged 20-39. You can find this
indicator in the Age Structure Data.
Some new steps are required:
- create a new folder called DEMIFER_inidcators. Save there the file that you want to download.
- explore the metadata and the lineage to get details about the data.
- familiarize yourself with the geographical code. Every region has a code and this code has logic. Try to
understand how the coding system was implemented. You will find soon that the geographical code from
the table match with the geographical identifier of the basemap.
5. Go to the Eurostat web page and check Statistics tab. After that, open the GISCO Geographical
Information and maps link.
6. On this new page, explore the Administrative units/ Statistical units link
The file that you need is NUTS_03M_2006_SH.zip. The SH termination shows that the files will come in a
shape format that can be exploited with any GIS platform. If you are not familiarized with this format, take
some precautions : don't change the names or the location of one or multiple files. In DEMIFER_indicators
folder make a new folder called NUTS_03M_2006_SH and transfer your basemap files there. If you are not
a GIS user, convert your files using XPhil software. A new basemap called Basemap. ai will be saved in your
folder. Now you are ready to make maps.
How to avoid the wrong ways to make maps?
Making maps seem an easy task. After all, linking data to geometry in an assisted context is not so difficult.
However, you have to avoid some traps. Colors and symbols serve for different purposes, as you are about
1) use colors in order to represent relative quantitative variables - densities, relative growth in %, rates.
Avoid this method, when dealing with stocks - number of inhabitants, number of young persons aged 20 24 years.
2) use proportional symbols in order to represent stocks, avoid them if your data is relative or qualitative
(variables that can be mapped, but the central values (the average or the median) don't have sense - the
codes of the spatial units, the names of the regions).
3) if the values present negative and positive values, choose the colors wisely in order to better catch the
essence of the spatial repartition. Such is the case with the data you use in this exercise - Change in
Population aged 20-39. You have two options and many interdictions. Canonically, geographers use blue
and red colors for negative and positive values - a cold/negative and a hot/positive color. This color
scheme, quickly emphasize the opposition. A second option is also used, especially in ESPON maps: green
vs. red (red flags the problematic territories, green the positive trends). As the geographical knowledge is
sometimes contextualized and situated, the red &green color scheme is more appropriate for maps that
serve as a decision support for policy design.
4) if possible, verify first how your data is organized in relation with the central values (mean or median). If
the data has a limited dispersion around the mean, using symbols to represent stocks won't bring any new
information. The differences between the symbols will be too small and the map will present you symbols
with almost the same size.
5) chose a concise title (you will verify by that if you understand what you have mapped) and mention the
indicator's name in the legend. If possible, mention also the unit of measure for your indicator - %,
inhab./sq. km., GDP in Euro etc.
6) mention the data source and the copyright notice, if needed. Explore the DEMIFER Final Report and the
Annexes for a better understanding of this issue. Use the DEMIFER map collection Annex 11 - Atlas of maps.
7) make the difference between missing values and no data. With few exceptions, you will frequently
encounter this problem.
8) when working with choropleth maps, choose carefully the class limits. What makes sense for a
statistician might not be readable for a policy designer. Balancing the readability and the robustness of the
classes is time consuming.
Time to practice ...
Load data and geometry on your mapping platform. Use the indicator downloaded from ESPON 2013
Database (Change in Population aged 20-39) and the basemap provided by GISCO. Make a map with these
values, using the blue vs. red color schema. By default, the first mapping method is quantiles. In this case, is
an appropriate one. Answer to the following questions, by filling in the gaps :
How the relative change is spatially organized ?
The map shows that the regions from ........................................ present a different pattern (generally
negative), compared with regions from the ............................................ countries. This demographic
opposition partially overlay on the distribution of ......................................................
Are there any exceptions to the regularity you observe ?
Some regions from ........................, ........................... and France present positive values in a negative
national or Western European context. The same situation appears in some of the recent integrated
countries : .........................., .........................., ....................... or ................................
Why this map is relevant for policy design ?
The changes affecting the cohort of 20-39 years have an influence on the .............................. and on the
................................. If these trends maintain or accelerate, some regions may face problems concerning
the economic ..................................
If by any reason, you are not able to make a map, use the map p.58 in order to answer the questions.
Basic skills of map interpretation: spatial and territorial auto-correlation
When geographers detect that the distribution of data is related to the geographical context, they suspect
the apparition of an auto-correlation effect. In the case of the indicator previously mapped, this effect is
linked to the neighbors (in Romania). Neighbor regions present generally the same values, while regions
that are not contiguous present very different values. In order to detect this effect of spatial autocorrelation, we need to calculate the dissimilarities between the pairs of contiguous regions. The value of
this dissimilarity is calculated as the absolute difference between them. It is then compared with
differences between pairs of regions that are not contiguous.
Figure 9: Dissimilarities between the regions: Change in Population aged 20-39
Calculate the average dissimilarity
for NE Region (RO21)
with distant regions
Compare the two values!
Generally, if the differences between neighbor regions are higher than the dissimilarities between distant
regions, we deal with a negative spatial auto-correlation effect. Neighbor regions are very different
between them. Contrary, if the differences between contiguous regions are lower than between distant
regions we face a positive spatial auto-correlation effect. An expert eye will discover if the spatial
repartition of values present this kind of trend. In the case of the previous map, with one degree of
contiguity, we have a limited effect of positive spatial auto-correlation effect. As a general explanation, the
spatial distribution of changes in population aged 20-39 depends on demographic trends and spatial
relations between neighbor regions.
DEMIFER Atlas of Maps (downloadable as Annex) is a good source of practicing. The maps that show
evolutions according to different policy scenarios will help you identify different cases of spatial autocorrelation (intense or moderate). Think how this effect of proximity between regions can affect the policy
design? Can the spatial auto-correlation function as a tool to validate scenario results?