Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Institute for Futures Studies

No 2005:21: Rural Population Growth in Sweden in the 1990s: Unexpected Reality or Spatial-Statistical Chimera

Jan Amcoff ()
Additional contact information
Jan Amcoff: Institute for Futures Studies, Postal: Box 591, SE-101 31 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: Though estimating rural population change at first glance seems simple, it in fact involves methodological difficulties and requires the accommodation of definitional ambiguities. This article addresses the matter of urban spillover in rural population development. Simply stated, "urban spillover" here refers to how urban localities tend to push a ring of diffuse urban growth outwards as they expand in area. If constant delimitations of urban localities and rural areas are employed, their definitions will de facto change, and what is actually diffuse urban growth will be treated as rural. If the spatial areas used are constructed from predefined areas (e.g. census enumeration areas), the effect of arbitrary geographical subdivision is added. These effects of urban spillover in different methods of estimating rural population change are illustrated here using Swedish data, which are suitable for this purpose given their high spatial resolution. The data do not support the existence of any actual rural population growth in Sweden in the 1990s, apart from the effects of urban spillover. We also show that urban spillover varies geographically depending on the measurement method used.

Keywords: urban spillover; urban localities; counterurbanisation; reclassification; rural population

JEL-codes: R00

24 pages, December 2005

Price: 25 SEK

Note: ISSN 1652-120X; ISBN 13:978-91-89655-79-9; ISBN 10:91-89655-79-6

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