Nordic Population Ageing – Challenge and Opportunity?

Nordregio News Issue 3, 2013

Photo: Johannes Jansson/norden.org

The Impact of Demographic Change in Nordic Regions

Demographic change is one of the megatrends that will influence the Nordic countries in many ways during the coming decades and beyond. Issues of increasing urbanization, mobility, ageing populations and other changes in population structure are receiving increasing attention and will have a crucial impact on the future of the Nordic cities and regions. In this issue of Nordregio News, we focus on the impacts on the Nordic regions of these changes in the population structure. Two examples of coping with these challenges are described.

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A Nordic 'Agequake'? Population Ageing in Nordic Cities and Regions

By Lisa Hörnström and Johanna Roto

Ageing of the population is far from a new trend; it was already highlighted by analysts of demographic development in the 1940s. In the coming decades, the population of the Nordic countries will rapidly grow older, but the variations between regions and municipalities will be more noticeable than today. The current territorial pattern in the Nordic countries with a relatively high proportion of young people in the urban areas and older people in peripheral and rural areas will persist and even be reinforced in decades to come. This fact will have an impact on the welfare system and thus pose a challenge for service production, not only for the public sector, but also for the private sector and individuals.

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Age Power for the Regions! The Finnish Network's Initiative for Managing the Change in Age Structure

By Antti Korkka

Greater attention has been paid to the change in age structure in Europe and Finland since the end of the 1990s. At the moment, the change is unprecedented: while in 2011 18 % of the Finnish population were over 65 years of age, it is estimated that in 2030 as much as 26 % of the population will be over 65. It is predicted that the rate of growth will slow down after the 2030s. The DEMO network, which operated in Finland from 2010 to 2012, has worked with age structure and the associated change in attitudes.

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Demographic Challenges are Everybody's Concern

By Camilla Sahlander

A demographic challenge common to the two counties of Hedmark in Norway and Dalarna in Sweden is that the populations of many of their small municipalities are decreasing. How will these small administrations maintain welfare provision, schools and health care? Almost half of all the municipalities in Hedmark – and even more in Dalarna – have stagnating population growth.

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