Baltic Sea Region Territorial Monitoring System

Migration - Visualization

The table depicts each year separately instead of lumping them together in a temporal average. Furthermore, it also presents for the urban rural typology summarised data for the sub classes of intermediate and predominantly rural regions (that due to graphical reasons were omitted from the charts). It is evident that annual fluctuations for a specific type of territory may be fairly large even if we are dealing with data that summarises all regions of this type across the BSR. Hence e.g. border regions in the BSR closed in on a nearly balanced account in 2008, only to be plunged in to a severe negative downturn after that year. The detail that predominantly rural remote regions display a far better rate than predominantly rural regions close to a city stems from the fact the former category in the typology contains primarily regions from Norway, Sweden and Finland, whereas the latter category is overrepresented by regions in Latvia, Lithuania and eastern Germany.

A still more detailed look at migration in the light of the typology on metropolitan regions reveals that the financial crisis of 2008 did affect smaller metropolitan areas least. In fact, they have as a group managed to raise the levels to a minuscule but still positive level by 2010. In most BSR countries migration trends tend to a certain extent to follow economic cycles, where polarisation generally increases the higher the growth rate in a country, and vice versa. For a spatial balance point of view hence, the slowdown of the global economy has had certain positive effects on this group of small- and medium-sized towns in the BSR. In secondary cities taken as a group, the growth in migration curbed already in 2007, whereas for the capital regions of the BSR, 2009 appears to have been the most difficult year.

The blue squares depict the net migration rate for each Norwegian country (an annual average rate for 2005-2012 so as to avoid rather volatile yearly fluctuations). For each county, the thinner red lines refer to the corresponding municipal values within that county. As is evident that the average county rates are to a large extent not able to truthfully illustrate the actual events “on the ground”. Despite the fact that net migration during the period was negative in only 2 counties (out of all 19), in as much as 17 of them were there also municipalities that were loosing population due to migration. Conversely, also in the two counties (Finnmark & Sogn og Fjordane on the far left in the graph) that had an average negative rate were there several municipalities that are gaining population through a positive migratory balance. When examining the distribution across counties and municipalities within them, it is also evident that the rate of variation is much larger within counties than between them. In only two counties (Akershus and Østfold, as well as Oslo, which is a single municipality itself) is the local variance in net migration smaller than is the corresponding comparable variance between Norwegian counties.

What adds to the complexity in terms of migratory movements is that the net rates do not disclose the entire traffic behind these. An example from Denmark illustrates this point. Flow data on domestic migrants between Danish NUTS 2 regions is illustrated by the arrows in the map inset in the upper left corner. The largest absolute flows occur in the first instance out (!) from the capital Copenhagen to the surrounding Sjaelland, and in the second instance in the opposite direction. Domestic net migration in the capital region is thus negative. The second largest flows occur between southern and central Jutland in the west of Denmark. When comparing such gross flows to the net ones, we see that the net rates generally are but a small fraction of the total flows, around or less than 5 % in all but one case in this Danish data. Adding to the complexity of interpreting total net rates is the additional factor of immigration. By merely looking at the total net rate for e.g. Copenhagen, one would be inclined to draw the conclusion that the total surplus of some 0.27 % indicates its relative position in the Danish system to be at least acceptable. Yet, 30 800 persons leave the region for other parts of Denmark in one year, and only 29 200 move the other way, such is not really the case.

The BSR has for several decades displayed an ongoing trend in concentration of population, and still does so. This is to a large extent the result of migratory movements, albeit also ageing and/or low fertility as such helps to aggravate the lack of settlement sustainability. The overall pattern is that most of eastern BSR as well as the traditional peripheries in western BSR are till date still being drained of their population by out- and/or emigration. The situation in the BSR is by far still worst in former East-Germany, but also Lithuania for example, show equally high rates. At the winning end of the scale are typically capital and surrounding regions in most countries as ell as other larger urban areas. The situation is more balanced in the western parts of BSR Germany, Denmark and southern Norway and Sweden.

A closer look at immigration to the BSR indicates that also most individual BSR countries have a similar pattern what comes to attracting migrants, albeit that the volumes differ markedly. There are exceptions, however. While most countries attract immigrants in the first instance from Europe and in the second instance from Asia, both Lithuania and Poland have Northern America in the second place. This most likely concerns return migration of former emigrants. When separating entire Germany and entire Russian Federation from the data, we note that still nearly 160 000 persons immigrate to the remaining nine countries, 41 % of which come from Europe outside the BSR and roughly a third from Asia. Sweden with 54 000 immigrants annually is the principal BSR destination for global migrants, followed by Denmark, Norway and, to a lesser extent, Finland. Immigration from the outside world remains rather modest to Estonia or Latvia, and in terms of its population, also Poland. While immigration to entire Germany follows a similar pattern as in most other BSR countries, immigration to Russia does not, where Asian immigrants, to a large extent from former Soviet states in central Asia, clearly dominate immigration to the country. Whether or not this is the case also for the Russian parts of the BSR cannot be unveiled from this data.

Nearly 800 000 persons emigrate from the BSR countries annually, and part of the severe depletion of population in countries such as Latvia or Lithuania can be accounted to emigration abroad rather than resettlement domestically. Despite such large volumes, the BSR is nonetheless a magnet for international migrants, and the global net volumes between BSR countries and the rest of the world are positive. Europe outside BSR countries is the primary origin (as well as destination) to BSR countries, Asia taking the second position. Perhaps unexpectedly, migration to and from Northern America remains rather modest in this comparison, as is the case with the rest of the globe as well. Even if we separate the Russian Federation as well as Germany from these numbers, these relationships remain very similar.

The traditional pattern of national concentration is thus still highly evident in nearly all countries of the BSR. This is evident when examining the chart above, which depicts the same data as in the map  above, but separated by country. The nearly all BSR countries there are regions on both sides of the zero line, indicating a restructuring of population due to migration. A closer look at for example Latvia or Poland as well as Sweden and Norway, reveals that urban sprawl is a major force shaping many large urban areas around the BSR. In the extreme Polish case, the city of Poznan is the largest looser in the country in terms of net migration whereas the surrounding region in turn is the largest winner. Albeit the relative values get lost in the sheer size of St Petersburg, also here the surrounding Leningrad oblast is growing at a rapid rate.

St Petersburg is by virtue of its size the natural leader in the BSR in this respect, with on average 24 000 excess migrants each year during the period. Also other large cities such as Stockholm, Minsk, Berlin and Malmö are high on this list.
Apart from Minsk and Copenhagen, no other top ten regions in relative terms (lower left corner of table) are the same as those which attract the largest absolute numbers. At the other end of the scale are the regions that have lost most persons due to migration. These are all in eastern BSR with Murmansk topping the list by loosing on average 5 500 persons per year. However, at the end of the day migration is also about persons, not only percentages. A large influx of migrants implies, apart from the obvious employment, also for example an increased demand for new housing as well as education, child care, etc. facilities that the receiving region will need to cater for. In the long run sustained in- or immigration also puts increased pressure on land use and transport system etc. The table in its upper left corner, the ten NUTS 3 /SNUTS 2 regions that had the largest migration surplus in absolute terms.

(C) ESPON BSR-TeMo, RRG, 2013