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Gone missing: Nordic people!

Nordregio Summer Map 2022: Empty streets, closed restaurants – where is everyone? Nordic cities are about to quiet down as millions of people are logging out from work. But where do they go – Mallorca? Some yes, but the Nordic people are known for their nature-loving and private spirit, and most like to unwind in isolation. So, they head to their private paradises – to one of the 1.8 million summer houses around the Nordics, or as they would call them: sommerhus, stuga, hytte, sumarbústaður or mökki. The Nordregio Summer Map 2022 reveals the secret spots. The Finnish and Norwegians are most likely already packing their cars and leaving the cities: the highest supply of summer houses per inhabitant is found in Finland (92 summer houses per 1000 inhabitants) closely followed by Norway (82). The Swedish (59) Danish (40) and Icelandic (40) people seem to have more varied summer activities. There are large regional differences in the number of summer houses and the number of potential users – so not enough cabins where people would want them! And this is the dilemma Nordregio Summer Map 2022 shows in detail. Most people live in the larger urban areas while many summer houses are located in more remote and sparsely populated areas. The largest deficit of summer houses is found in Stockholm: with almost 1 million inhabitants, there is a need for 65,000 summer houses but the municipality has only 2,000 to offer! So, people living in Stockholm need to go elsewhere to find a summer house. The same goes for the other capital municipalities which have large deficits in summer houses: Oslo is missing 44,000, Helsinki 43,000, and Copenhagen 34,000. Fortunately, there are places that would happily accommodate these second-home searchers. Good news for Stockholm after all as the top-scoring municipality…

Population change by component 2010-2019

The map shows the population change by component 2010-2019. The map is related to the same map showing regional and municipal patterns in population change by component in 2020. Regions are divided into six classes of population change. Those in shades of blue or green are where the population has increased, and those in shades of red or yellow are where the population has declined. At the regional level (see small inset map), all in Denmark, all in the Faroes, most in southern Norway, southern Sweden, all but one in Iceland, all of Greenland, and a few around the capital in Helsinki had population increases in 2010-2019. Most regions in the north of Norway, Sweden, and Finland had population declines in 2010-2019. Many other regions in southern and eastern Finland also had population declines in 2010-2019, mainly because the country had more deaths than births, a trend that pre-dated the pandemic. In 2020, there were many more regions in red where populations were declining due to both natural decrease and net out-migration. At the municipal level, a more varied pattern emerges, with municipalities having quite different trends than the regions of which they form part. Many regions in western Denmark are declining because of negative natural change and outmigration. Many smaller municipalities in Norway and Sweden saw population decline from both negative natural increase and out-migration despite their regions increasing their populations. Many smaller municipalities in Finland outside the three big cities of Helsinki, Turku, and Tampere also saw population decline from both components. A similar pattern took place at the municipal level in 2020 of there being many more regions in red than in the previous decade.

Net internal migration rate, 2010-2019

The map shows the annual average internal net migration in 2010-2019. The map is related to the same map showing net internal migration in 2020. The maps show several interesting patterns, suggesting that there may be an increasing trend towards urban-to-rural countermigration in all the five Nordic countries because of the pandemic. In other words, there are several rural municipalities – both in sparsely populated areas and areas close to major cities – that have experienced considerable increases in internal net migration. In Finland, for instance, there are several municipalities in Lapland that attracted return migrants to a considerable degree in 2020 (e.g., Kolari, Salla, and Savukoski). Swedish municipalities with increasing internal net migration include municipalities in both remote rural regions (e.g., Åre) and municipalities in the vicinity of major cities (e.g., Trosa, Upplands-Bro, Lekeberg, and Österåker). In Iceland, there are several remote municipalities that have experienced a rapid transformation from a strong outflow to an inflow of internal migration (e.g., Ásahreppur, Tálknafjarðarhreppurand, and Fljótsdalshreppur). In Denmark and Norway, there are also several rural municipalities with increasing internal net migration (e.g., Christiansø in Denmark), even if the patterns are somewhat more restrained compared to the other Nordic countries. Interestingly, several municipalities in capital regions are experiencing a steep decrease in internal migration (e.g., Helsinki, Espoo, Copenhagen and Stockholm). At regional level, such decreases are noted in the capital regions of Copenhagen, Reykjavík and Stockholm. At the same time, the rural regions of Jämtland, Kalmar, Sjælland, Nordjylland, Norðurland vestra, Norðurland eystra and Kainuu recorded increases in internal net migration. While some of the evolving patterns of counterurbanisation were noted before 2020 for the 30–40 age group, these trends seem to have been strengthened by the pandemic. In addition to return migration, there may be a larger share of young adults who…

Cross-border commuting as share of employment

The map illustrates the average share of employees who commuted to another Nordic country between between 2015 and 2018 in Nordic regions (NUTS 2). Between 2015 and 2018, an average of approximately 49,000 people held a job in a Nordic country in which they were not residents. This indicates that, on average, 0.5% of the Nordic working-age population commuted to a job in another Nordic country. This is below the EU27 average of 1%, with the highest numbers found in Slovakia (5.1%), Luxembourg (2.8%) and Estonia (2.6%). Some of these people cross borders daily. Others work in another country by means of remote working combined with occasional commuting across borders.  Within the Nordic Region, the largest cross-border commuter flows are in the southernmost parts of Sweden, regions in the middle of Sweden and in Åland, where more than 1% of the working population commutes to another Nordic country. However, there may be individual municipalities where cross-border commuting is substantially higher. For example, the employment rate in Årjäng Municipality, Sweden, increases by 15 percentage points when cross-border commuting is taken into account. These municipalities are not reflected on NUTS 2 level when averages are calculated. In terms of absolute numbers in 2015, the highest numbers of commuters were from Sweden: Sydsverige (16,543), Västsverige (7,899) and Norra Mellansverige (6,890). The highest number of commuters from a non-Swedish region were from Denmark’s Hovedstaden (2,583).   Due to legislative barriers regarding the exchange of statistical data on cross-border commuting between the Nordic countries, more recent data is not available. 

At-risk-of-poverty rate 2011-2018 change

The map shows the “at-risk-of-poverty” (AROP) rate in the Nordic Region. For the period from 2004 to 2018, the AROP rate increased in all Nordic countries except Iceland. This trend was strongest in Sweden. In Finland the AROP rate has been decreasing during the past few years, in line with what has previously been indicated – namely, on account of economic turmoil. This points to one of the weaknesses of using the AROP rate alongside several other measures of inequality. That is, while people have become poorer due to the economic crisis, the at-risk-of-poverty rate has paradoxically gone down. In addition, the AROP rate for Finland is higher in 2018 than it was in 2004. Looking at these trends on a regional level over a period of time (between 2011 and 2018), we can see that the AROP rate has decreased in almost all areas of Finland, whereas the pattern is rath er more varied in the other Nordic countries (we can also see a cohesive area in the south of Denmark where the AROP rate has decreased.) Again, Sweden has the most regions displaying increases in the AROP rate. Finland and Sweden contain the largest differences between the regions with the highest and lowest AROP rate. Hence the greatest regional differences are to be found in Sweden and Finland. Sweden also has the highest average AROP rate. About the At-risk-of-poverty The at-risk-of-poverty rate is a common measure of relative poverty and social inclusion. Most notably, it has been used for monitoring the EU2020 goal of inclusive growth. The at-risk-of-poverty rate is normally defined as “the share of people with an equivalised disposable income (after social transfer) below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, which is set at 60% of the national median equivalised disposable income after social transfer.” (Eurostat). The indicator is…

Unemployment rate 2018

The map shows the unemployment rate in the Nordic counties at the municipal level in 2018. Unemployment is measured as the total number of unemployed (i.e. people who were not in employment, but seeking job and available to take up an employment) as share of the total workforce (i.e. employed plus unemployed). The map is based on data from the labour force survey, which is the official way of measuring unemployment. In order to show the municipal level register data has been used as an allocation key. The lighter shades on the map represent lower levels of unemployment, and the darker shades represent higher levels. The Nordic Region has a low average unemployment rate (5.7%) compared with the EU average (7.0%). There is, however, substantial regional variation, both within and between countries. The lowest unemployment rates are found in Iceland, Norway and the Faroe Islands. The highest rates can be found in Finland (particularly in the east ern municipalities), parts of southern Sweden, and Kujalleq (Greenland). Unemployment rates in Den mark are higher than those found in Iceland and Norway, but lower than those found in Sweden and Finland – with the highest rates found in Nord Jylland. The unemployment rate also varies between population groups. In all Nordic countries, for ex ample, the foreign-born population are more likely to be unemployed than their native-born counter parts, particularly if they were born outside the EU (see Figure 4.5). This trend is most pronounced in Sweden and Finland. It can also be observed throughout the EU, where unemployment for foreign-born persons is more than twice that of the native-born population.

Internal net migration of 30 to 39 years-of-age, by gender, in 2010-2019

This map shows a typology that divides the Nordic municipalities and regions into four migration categories: positive net migration for both males and females (green on the map), positive male net migration (blue on the map), positive female net migration (yellow on the map), and negative net migration for both males and females (red on the map). These migration flows on 30 to 39-year-olds are of particular interest since it is often assumed that the future of rural regions is dependent upon their capability both to retain their populations and to attract newcomers, returning residents and second home owners. In this context, the map provides a rather positive picture, because a considerable proportion of rural municipalities have experienced positive net migration among females, males, or both sexes across all the Nordic countries. Even so, there is negative net migration among both females and males in many municipalities in northern Sweden, north-eastern Norway and eastern Finland, in addition to several inland municipalities within these countries. Interestingly, there is negative net migration among both sexes across all the capital city municipalities of the Nordic Region. According to the regional map, the capital city regions of Denmark, Iceland and Norway all experienced negative net migration of young people aged 30-39 years between 2010 and 2019. The capital city region of Sweden experienced positive net migration of males and negative net migration of females while the capital city region of Finland experienced positive net migration overall. Despite the majority of peripheral regions experiencing negative net migration of 30 to 39-year-olds during the time period studied, there are also several interesting examples of rural regions which experienced positive female net migration, for example Nordjylland (Denmark), Pohjois-Savo (Finland), Austurland (Iceland), Møre og Romsdal (Norway), and Jämtland (Sweden).

Internal net migration of 20 to 29 years-of-age, by gender, in 2010-2019

This map shows a typology that divides the Nordic municipalities and regions into four migration categories: positive net migration for both males and females (green on the map), positive male net migration (blue on the map), positive female net migration (yellow on the map), and negative net migration for both males and females (red on the map). These migration flows of 20 to 29-year-olds are of interest since there is a particularly high level of internal migration among young adults across the Nordic countries compared to other EU countries. While the map shows that the great majority of municipalities experience negative net migration of young adults in favour of a few functional urban areas and some larger towns, it is possible to observe a number of exceptions to this general rule. The rural municipalities of Utsira, Moskenes, Valle, Smøla, Ballangen and Lierne in Norway have the highest positive net migration rates both for men and women. There are also positive net migration rates for males and females in the peripheral municipalities of Jomala, Kittilä, Lemland and Finström in Finland and Åland. There is positive male net migration but negative female net migration in Gratangen, Loppa, Gamvik, Drangedal and a few other Norwegian rural municipalities, plus Mariehamn in Åland, while several municipalities in remote areas of Finland have positive female net migration but negative male net migration. Some of these patterns may be related to specialised local labour markets, such as fisheries in Loppa, or recreational tourism in Kittilä. In general, the pattern of net migration among young adults is more diverse in Finland (where 72.0% of all municipalities have negative net migration), compared with 84.6% in Norway, 88.9% in Denmark and 89.0% in Sweden. However, it is important to remember that Danish, Finnish and Norwegian municipalities are smaller in size…

Population projection 2017-2040

This map shows the expected population change in Nordic municipalities by looking at the change between 2017 and 2040. The colours on the main map indicates the percentage of population change at municipal level between 2017 and 2040. Shades of red indicate a population decline, whereas shades of blue indicate a population increase. The colours on the regional map (bottom-right corner) indicates the type of region according to the Eurostat’s urban-rural typology (see: shades of red indicate predominantly urban regions, yellow for intermediate regions and shades of green for predominantly rural regions. In the two types of regions classified as predominantly rural (“light green” and „dark green“ regions), population growth largely remains concentrated in larger towns and their suburbs. This is particularly the case in Sweden and Finland. For instance, the regional capitals Östersund in Jämtland (SE) and Seinäjoki in South Ostrobothnia (FI) are expected to have larger populations in 2040 than today, while most other municipalities in these regions will decline. In Norway and Iceland, a somewhat more nuanced pattern applies. Here population growth is not only expected in regional capitals and other larger towns, but also in some smaller and more remote municipalities. In Denmark, finally, population growth is expected for large parts of the country until 2040, in more rural and urban areas alike. Population loss is only expected in some of the most remote municipalities at the Northern, Eastern and Southern borders of the country. While the population loss in rural regions is hence expected to continue across the Nordic Region, it appears to be more pronounced in some countries than in others. In the predominantly urban (“red”) regions, the opposite pattern applies: With very few exceptions, municipalities in these regions are expected to experience a growth in population numbers until 2040.