Paper 'Regional demographic convergence in Europe' presented by Ilya Kashnitsky at the URSI Lunch Seminar, 2 May 2017, University of Groningen.
Abstract. Even though all European countries experience population ageing, there are relative differences in the speed of the process across countries and regions. A decline in the share of the working age population can be expected to have a downward effect on economic growth. Thus differences in population ageing across regions may affect economic prospects. One can distinguish two contrasting hypotheses about regional differences in population ageing. First, it seems reasonable to expect convergence in ageing at the end of the Demographic Transition in Europe: European countries move along the Demographic Transition path with varying timing and pace, and the differences should diminish by the end of the process. Alternatively, the process of urbanization is likely to contribute to a divergent pattern of ageing: Urbanized regions tend to attract population at working ages, while rural regions are left with a higher proportion of people out of the labor market. We examine whether urbanization lead to diverging regional developments of population structures in Europe. We analyze population dynamics of the 261 NUTS-2 regions of EU-27 over the period 2003-2013. We use the methodological approach of convergence analysis, quite recently brought to demography from the field of economic research. The preliminary results suggest that, despite our expectation, urbanization contributes to convergence in ageing rather than divergence.