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Internal Migration and Regional Population Dynamics in Europe: Finland Case Study

By M. Kupiszewski, E. Heikkila, M. Nieminen, H. Durham, P. Rees and D. Kupiszewska


Both natural increase and internal migration have played roles in the shaping of population distribution of Finland since 1900. Far reaching recent changes in the economy have brought about massive shift of jobs from agriculture to manufacturing and services. As a result people have relocated from rural to urban areas. Both natural change and net migration have distinct geographical patterns, resulting in serious depopulation in remote areas in the east and north of the country. Internal migration benefits the south, the west, coastal areas, urban agglomerations and suburban areas. International migration is a marginal phenomenon in Finland and has little impact on population dynamics. Net migration losses in the past were offset by high natural increase and in recent decades Finnish emigrants have returned. \ud Urban concentration is a dominant feature of the Finnish migration system. At the subregional level, suburbanisation is visible, but is not as strong as in the overcrowded metropolises of Western Europe. The relationships between migration and size of municipality, migration and population density and migration and urban/rural class of municipalities show that the process of concentration is the strongest force at work in shifting people to urban agglomerations and their suburban rings. \ud Regional patterns of migration show strong transfers of population from north and east to south and to lesser extent to west of the country. The Baltic Sea coast has a strong attraction to migrants. Migration is sex-selective, with a much higher propensity of females to leave remote and rural areas and migrate to urban centres and the southern part of the country. The result is a significant gender imbalance: a deficiency of females in rural areas and in the north and east of the country and a surplus in urban and semi-urban areas. However, the economic indicator unemployment has a rather weak and imprecise effect on migrants

Publisher: School of Geography
Year: 2000
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