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State of the Nordic Region 2024

State of the Nordic Region 2024 takes stock of the latest trends and developments in demography, labour market and economy in the Nordic countries, regions, municipalities, and cities. This year’s report marks the 20th edition of the State of the Nordic Region, a bi-annually published report that provides a Nordic panorama of regional development trends in the Nordic countries based on the latest statistical data, maps and analyses. Watch the video from the online launch event (19 June) to get an overview of the report highlights! The State of the Nordic Region 2024 presents a collection of maps, figures and analysis within three core areas: demography, labour market, and economy, as well as a newly updated Regional Potential Index. DEMOGRAPHY What are the latest demographic trends in the Nordic Region? What kind of impact did the pandemic have on different aspects of demographic development? The demography section compiles insights from population statistics on mortality and birth, population change and migration in the Nordic Region based on the most recent available data.   Ch 1: Population change beyond the pandemic Ch 2: Fertility decline in the Nordic Region Ch 3: The Nordic geography of diversity LABOUR MARKET What kind of labour market trends are the most prevalent in the Nordic Region at the moment? How has the labour market recovered since the pandemic? Do we have the necessary skills and compe­tences to remain competitive in the future? And how is the green transition shaping the labour market? The labour market section tackles the latest developments of the labour market from different perspectives. Ch 4: The Nordic labour market after the pandemic Ch 5: Challenges of labour shortages and skills provision Ch 6: Green transition of the labour market ECONOMY Achieving sustainable, long-term regional development requires that economic, environmental, and social aspects are…

The Common Nordic Labour Market 70 Years and Beyond

This report explores the past, present, and future of labour mobility in the Nordic Region. Historical milestones and migration trends that have shaped cross-border employment are examined, highlighting both advancements and ongoing challenges such as tax legislation and language barriers. With the demand for highly educated workers increasing amidst demographic changes, the importance of Nordic cooperation and the growing trend of remote work are also discussed. The common Nordic labour market, formalised in 1954, was an extension of Sweden’s earlier efforts in the 1940s to support its booming industry. Over the years, various Nordic countries joined European frameworks like the EEC and the European Economic Area (EEA), enhancing mobility. Despite the unique long-standing cooperation and freedom, practical barriers still hinder seamless cross-border labour movement. Could a more integrated Nordic labour market contribute to solve lack of competence and skills mismatch? Today, only 1.6 % live in another Nordic country than they were born in, and a lower share than the EU average commute to another Nordic country for work. We end the report by asking four daring and forward-looking questions, with the aim of starting a discussion about how the common Nordic labour market can be developed further and encourage readers to think more broadly and look ahead to the future. 

Visualizing Future Migration Scenarios for Europe

The FUME project investigated how migration has shaped Amsterdam, Rome, Copenhagen, and Krakow, using data to understand segregation patterns. The findings indicate that despite variations in size, foreign population structure, and migration history, residential segregation, measured using grid cell level data, is surprisingly similar in three cities – Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Rome. However, Krakow stands out as an exception due to its recent immigrant influx and a smaller migrant population. Even in Krakow, there’s a noticeable downward trend in the dissimilarity index, reflecting a more even allocation of migrants across the city. The storymap includes population estimates and projections by foreign status for cities, which allows decision-makers to use the data in a very flexible way. To achieve this, cutting-edge methods were used such as machine learning and the most available spatially detailed data that is available is collected. The harmonized set of historical data and results of multi-scenario demographic projections allows researchers to study not only past spatial distribution, but also possible futures of spatial processes in cities under different national and regional scenarios; not only those related to population and migration (e.g., changes in the size and structure of mobility flows), but also scenarios of urban development (e.g., investments in infrastructure, housing, transport).

Should I stay or should I go? Early career mobility and migration drivers

This working paper is a part of the project “Early Career Mobility in the Nordic Region”. The project explores current migration aspirations and associated factors of young people in the Nordic region. The study is conducted under the Nordic Thematic Group for Green, Innovative and Resilient Regions (2021 – 2024).  Learning more about current migration drivers and migration aspirations of the early career cohorts in the Nordic countries will help policymakers to shape the future of Nordic labour markets and better prepare the future labour supply and demands in rural areas. This working paper will present the main findings from previous studies on migration drivers and will serve as a baseline for the data collection on migration history and migration aspirations of young people in the Nordic countries.  The overall objective of Early Career Mobility in the Nordic Region is to develop a deeper knowledge of young people´s regional mobility and migration aspirations within the Nordic region. The research will address and assess the following key research questions:  The aim of the project is to understand recent and future developments in regional migration trends in the Nordic region, targeting the population cohorts aged 25 – 39 year olds, which we refer to as the household-creating ages. The project will put an emphasis on urban-to-rural migration, addressing cross-cutting themes such as gender and the Green Transition. The project will collect survey data on individuals in the household-creating ages in the Nordic region, exploring migration aspirations and factors associated with the wish to leave. Furthermore, there is a rising interest in understanding how digitalisation and remote work opportunities are influencing labour mobility and lifestyle decisions among the younger cohorts in the labour market, which this project also will shed light on. Documenting migration aspirations can offer insights into migration forecasts and migration…

Improving the evidence for European migration policy making

This policy brief synthesizes central results from quantitative migration and population projections on future migration flows to and within the EU and projects the population in EU member states at an unprecedented level of detail, including by age, sex, level of education, and country of origin, produced as part of the FUME project. Migration is an important driver of population change in the European Union. Since 2011, the population in the 27 EU member states has increased by around 8 million people. This increase has been entirely due to migration since natural population change – the difference between births and deaths – was negative during this period. In other words, without international migration, the population in the EU would have declined during the past decade. International migration will also be a key factor for demographic developments in the future. Projections about future migration flows to, within, and from Europe are therefore important for future policy making. Knowing the expected size and composition of migration flows can help policy makers design strategies for rural and urban development, public service provision, labour market issues, and integration. This is the second of two policy briefs that summarize key findings of the FUME project. The first policy brief highlights why people from origin countries decide to migrate and which factors influence their decision on where to go. It also presents qualitative scenarios which describe possible future socio-economic trajectories in Europe and their implications for migration trends. This second policy brief synthesizes central results from quantitative migration and population projections that were produced as part of the FUME project. The projections model future migration flows to and within the EU and project the population in EU member states at an unprecedented level of detail, including by age, sex, level of education, and country of origin. In addition,…

Why do people migrate? Where do they choose to migrate?

Today, approximately 3.4 percent of the world’s population are international migrants – people living outside their country of birth. In the future, the number of people who move from one country to another may increase due to population growth in developing countries, increased mobility, political unrest in some world regions, and climate change. The question is how much may international migration flows increase and where will migrants go? The Horizon 2020 project Future migration scenarios for Europe (FUME) focuses on understanding the patterns, motivations, and modalities of migration at multiple geographical scales, from international through regional to the local, and on developing possible future scenarios of migration to Europe. These scenarios shall improve our understanding of the complexity and diversity of migration – and support migration, integration, labour market and cohesion policies at different governance levels. Understanding the drivers of migration, and people’s motivation to migrate is a precondition for making projections of future migration patterns. FUME researchers have interviewed potential migrants and migration experts in four countries of origin – Iraq, Tunisia, Senegal and Ukraine – and analysed demographic trends, livelihood opportunities, the demand for and supply of labour, as well as environmental threats to shed light on people’s motivation to leave or to remain in their places or regions of origin. In addition, migration experts from Europe were interviewed about their expectations regarding future migration to Europe. From the analyses, these factors are likely to influence people’s decision to migrate going forward. This policy brief answers key FUME research questions, summarizes important project findings, and presents policy recommendations. It is based on fieldwork carried out in selected countries of origin including in-depth individual and group interviews of migrants, a review of migration literature, an expert survey of migration researchers, and a Delphi survey of migration experts.

State of the Nordic Region 2022

Introducing the 18th edition of State of the Nordic Region.   State of the Nordic Region 2022 has its point of departure in the Covid-19 pandemic and examines how it has affected demography, labour market and economy in the Nordic countries, regions and municipalities. State of the Nordic Region is published every two years and provides a comprehensive account of regional development trends in the Nordic countries based on the latest statistical data. Read the digital report State of the Nordic Region 2022 Download PDF version here Watch recordings from launch events here The State of the Nordic Region 2022 presents a collection of maps, figures and analysis within three core areas: demography, labour market, and economy. DEMOGRAPHY An evaluation of excess deaths reveals that Covid-19 greatly affected mortality in much of the Nordic Region in 2020, with Sweden showing the highest rates. However, compared to the rest of Europe, life expectancy still increased in most of the Nordic Region during 2020 (excluding Sweden). The Nordic Region also stands out in a European context with increasing numbers of births and natural population growth even during the pandemic; however, such growth was small, and immigration continues to be the main source of population increase.    Mortality and health Marriage, divorce and birth trends Migration LABOUR MARKET The pandemic has undoubtedly altered the Nordic labour market. Throughout Europe, unemployment rates increased during this season, though these effects were less pronounced in the Nordic Region. Leaders in the Nordic countries did not make a uniform response to the pandemic, leading to general discordance and complications for labour market mobility in cross-border regions. While distancing restrictions encouraged knowledge-based employees to work from home, workers such as those in service-sector jobs were most affected by temporary or permanent layoffs. Labour market impacts Labour market mobility between…

Integrating immigrants into the Nordic labour markets. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

A new Report “Integrating immigrants into the Nordic labour markets. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic” by Nordregio and the Nordic Council of Minsters shows that the Covid-19 pandemic has made social and economic inequalities even more pronounced in the Nordic countries. In all countries, foreign-born people have experienced stronger increases in unemployment than their native-born peers. Immigrants born outside the EU, especially individuals with low levels of education, have faced the largest challenges in finding and keeping employment in 2020. In the new report, researchers stress that the current crisis also underscores the need for uniform social insurance systems. Statistics from Norway show that immigrants from new EU member countries in Central and Eastern Europe have been vastly overrepresented among job losers. Hence, the inclusion of these workers in a relatively generous social insurance system has been critical to prevent poverty and minimize demand-driven ‘knock-on effects’ from income decline in industries directly affected by the crisis. This study builds on a comprehensive report about immigrant integration into the Nordic labour markets that was published by the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2019. It revisits some of the conclusions and policy recommendations outlined in 2019 – in relation to the impact of Covid-19 on unemployment among foreign-born. The report is part of the Nordic Cooperation Programme for Integration of Immigrants, initiated in 2016, in which the Nordic Welfare Centre and Nordregio cooperate.  Read a debate article in Dagens Nyheter here. Visit the Nordic Cooperation Programme for Integration of Immigrants

Nordregio Strategy 2021-2024

The Nordregio Strategy 2021-2024 outlines our main mission and core research focus areas, which have been carefully aligned to address the key objectives and needs of policymakers and practitioners outlined within Nordic cooperation steering documents. In recent years, there has been a convergence of several global megatrends which are having a major impact on all aspects of the Nordic economy, society and environment. Climate change, migration, rapid demographic developments, digitalization and automation, increasing urban-rural divides, and growing socio-economic inequalities are some of the main threats facing the Nordic Region. Nordregio is focused on identifying practical Nordic policy solutions to help overcome these challenges and promote socio-economic growth and environmental sustainability across the Nordic Region. The Nordregio Strategy 2021-2024 has been written as a collaborative effort by our staff members in close cooperation with Nordregio’s Board of Directors, which represents the Nordic countries, Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland. The overarching goals that guide Nordregio’s research are outlined in the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Action Plan for Vision 2030, which is approved by the Ministers for Nordic Co-operation. The Action Plan defines the work to achieve the objectives of the Vision through a series of initiatives linked to the Vision’s three strategic priorities: a green Nordic Region, a competitive Nordic Region, and a socially sustainable Nordic Region. During the 2021-2024 period, Nordregio is committed to delivering high quality scientific, evidence-based research designed to provide policymakers and practitioners with sustainable policies to help overcome the main challenges faced by Nordic regions and municipalities. Our research will contribute substantially towards Nordic cooperation and synergies, while also showcasing Nordic policies, experience and competences internationally. The Board approved the Nordregio Strategy on the 15th of April 2021.

Localising the Sustainable Development Goals in Europe: Perspectives for the north

How do Nordic and European organisations support Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) implementation at the local level? Which initiatives are relevant for different Nordic countries? This report considers localisation efforts and serves as a guide, with the references providing information and background on selected Nordic and European SDG localisation efforts, reflecting important objectives, priorities, and key activities of the different institutions, organisations, and programmes. The aim of the report is to help navigate among the available resources and to identify which initiatives, networks, or tools might be most suitable for a given context and available capacities. According to the author of the report Diana N. Huynh, Junior Research Fellow at Nordregio, this report addresses primarily a Norwegian context, but it also builds on previous Nordregio work and Nordic Council of Minister’s publications. In many ways, it is taking stock and consolidating Nordic efforts to localise the 2030 Agenda with a European outlook in mind. Moving forward, it will be important to (re)consider how the Nordic countries are supporting regional and local level SDG implementation through national policies and action plans. Also – looking at the potential to strengthen policy coherence and/or indicator frameworks not just as it is planned and carried out within each country but across the Nordic Region. The report was published together with The Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS). It provides an inspiration and further references to advance the work on Agenda 2030.