Universal processes related to the demographic transition to structural low fertility on the one hand, and economic geographic processes of concentration and urbanization on the other lead to regional population decline in most European countries. Due to this universal nature of the underlying processes policies aimed at dealing with them share substantial similarities. At the same time, the regional context is very important as well. This paper aims to give more insight into and reflections on policies dealing with population decline in three European regions: Northeast Scotland, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, and Brandenburg.
Each region has experienced population decline, but in different regional and national contexts. Policy responses between the regions differed. Each of the regions has experienced some form of structural change that was triggered by external developments. Demography has reacted to these changes primarily through migration. Moreover, there are strong internal differences in growth and decline within these regions. One of the main conclusions is that the role of national policies has been substantial. The more successful regional policies were supported strongly by national policies. Moreover, policies have primarily affected liveability in the regions, but not population decline as such.