SEMIGRA

Selective Migration and Unbalanced Sex Ratio in Rural Regions

The research Project was intended to provide insights into the reasons for and effects of the one-sided out-migration of women from rural regions in Europe, aiming to improve concepts for spatial and regional development taking age- and gender-specific aspects into account.

The transition from an industrial to a services society and the growing proportion of women in paid employment are not only important aspects of social change, but also influence young people’s migration patterns. Gender-specific differences in migration can create regional “surpluses” of men or women. These demographic imbalances are most frequently to be observed between rural and urban areas and prosperous and shrinking economic regions. Urban regions tend to have a surplus of young women, while a surplus of young men can be observed in thinly settled rural areas and regions experiencing demographic and economic shrinkage.

Disproportionately high out-migration rates for young women are threatening to exacerbate existing problems in Europe’s economically underdeveloped regions. Unequal gender ratios can cause economic and demographic shrinkage processes to accelerate dramatically: labour shortages occur, social networks are impoverished and social erosion takes place.

The research Project was intended to provide insights into the reasons for and effects of the one-sided out-migration of women from rural regions in Europe. The aims included gathering information about the aims, expectations and needs of young women and men in rural regions. The findings can be used to improve concepts for spatial and regional development taking age- and gender-specific aspects into account.

The following three central issues were addressed by the project:

  • What significance do young women have for the future of rural regions?
  • What causes and effects of imbalance gender ratios in younger population groups can be identified in differently structured rural regions in Europe?
  • What potential can be identified with regard to the demographic, social and economic stabilisation of the regions affected, and what strategies promise to be successful in attracting young people?

The study regions were Észak-Alföld, Észak-Magyarország (both in Hungary), Kainuu (Finland), Västernorrland (Sweden) and Saxony-Anhalt (Germany)

Results/Publications

The most important reasons for out-migration from rural areas by young women apparently include their higher level of education, greater mobility and ambition as well as a preference for urban lifestyles. The survival of traditional gender role images and the paucity of cultural activities in rural areas can be identified as potential push-factors. Other explanations can be found in gender-specific motivation for migration: men tend to migrate primarily for professional reasons and therefore at a later stage, while women tend to migrate for family and educational reasons.

ESPON (2013): Map of the Month. Gender Imbalances in European Regions. Download

Leibert, Tim (2012): "Männerproletariat" - schiffbrüchig im "Ozean von Armut und Demenz"? Die Geschlechterproportionen als Indikator für die sozioökonomische Marginalisierung ländlicher Räume Ostdeutschlands. In: Statistischer Quartalsbericht IV/2011 [01/12], S. 20-28. Download

Leibert,Tim / Wiest, Karin (2011): Unausgewogene Geschlechterproportionen in Europa. In: Nationalatlas aktuell 10 (10/2011) [28.10.2011]. Leipzig:Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde (IfL).

Wiest, Karin / Leibert, Tim et. al. (2011): SEMIGRA - Selective Migration and unbalanced Sex Ratio in Rural Regions: Interim Report 31.09.2011. Download

Leibert, Tim / Wiest, Karin (2010): Ist die ländliche Peripherie männlich? In: Nationalatlas aktuell 11 (11/2010) [24.11.2010]. Leipzig: Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde (IfL)

Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde / Ministerium für Landesentwicklung und Verkehr Sachsen-Anhalt (Hrsg.) (2013): Abwanderung junger Frauen und aunausgewogene Geschlechterproportionen in ländlichen Regionen Europas. Zusammenfassung der Projektergebnisse (Broschüre, 22 S.). Download

Project information

Project team

Karin Wiest, Tim Leibert, Otti Margraf

Cooperation

Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan, Stockholm (Schweden); Kajaanin Ammattikorkeakoulu – AIKOPA, Kajaani (Finnland); Magyar Tudományos Akadémia Regionális Kutatások Központja, Pécs (Ungarn); Miskolci Egyetem Világ- és Regionális Gazdaságtan Intézet, Miskolc (Ungarn)

Duration of project

10/2010–05/2012

Funded by

European Union, ESPON 2013 Programme

Further information

Dr. Karin Wiest
K_Wiest(at)ifl-leipzig.de
Tel.: 089 775205

Tim Leibert
T_Leibert(at)ifl-leipzig.de
Tel.: +49 341 600 55-188

www.semigra.eu

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