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Clarion Congress & Hotel, Cosmos 3A


Koos Balint



Topic: The interplay between selective migration and spatial segregation in shrinking Hungarian towns

Keywords: shrinking, town, selective migration, segregation


The process of shrinking cities has stimulated a rapidly growing scholarly literature across many disciplines (Pallagst et al. 2009, Baum et al. 2014, Haase et al. 2016). However, few research papers addressed the social aspect of shrinkage (Cortese et al. 2016, Baum et al. 2014) and they focused on capital cities or regional centers (Ostrava, Leipzig, Halle, Genova). To best of our knowledge the social spatial polarization in shrinking small towns has been neglected. The aim of this research is to extend current knowledge of this specific area by analysing individual-level Hungarian census data from 2001 and 2011. First net migration rates were calculated by educational attainment at settlement level (2001-2011). We found that the most educated active age residents were overrepresented among the emigrants independently from local economic situation. This kind of selective migration is well known, so the most remarkable result to emerge from the data is that only economically successful towns were able to keep their graduates (secondary education). On the other side of the spectrum, towns with the worst job opportunities have lost even part of their unqualified population. To shed more light on the hypothetical links between population decline and spatial polarization, segregational index scores (Clotfelter 2004; Kertesi-Kézdi 2014) were computed for every Hungarian town and city using 2001 and 2011 census data (population: unqualified active age population without employment). Based on the results obtained thanks to multivariate regression analysis, segregation is influenced by settlement size, share of roma population and local labour market condition. In other words segregation is affected, but not determined by population decline.

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