Scandinavia: 2030 population projection

A recent article by Daniel Rauhut for the Journal of Nordregio, sketches out a population projection for the Scandinavian countries in 2030. Generally it expects the city population to increase and the rural areas to almost completely depopulate. It doesn't really mention the population demographics except when it comes to immigrants emigrating out. It's not a long article, but I bring here only the issues I found relevant.

The population of the Nordic countries will have increased by almost 10 % in 2030 as compared to that of today. Moreover, further concentration of the population to the urban and metropolitan areas will continue to influence population development. The family will play a more important role, with higher fertility and nuptality rates. Obesity and increased socio-economic polarisation will however lower life expectancy. The Nordic countries will also have to face up to the emigration of persons with an immigrant background
as a consequence of failed integration policies. Problems with labour shortage will persist due to imperfections in the workings of the labour market.

Populations in million inhabitants (present and projected)
Denmark 5.4 -> 5.7
Finland 5.2 -> 5.4
Iceland 0.3 -> 0.4
Norway 4.6 -> 5.4
Sweden 9.1 -> 10.1
Total 24.6 -> 27.0

We will also see a geographical concentration of the population to metropolitan and urban areas in the coming 20 years. Rural and peripheral parts of the Nordic area will have to face up to declining population levels, while urban and metropolitan areas will experience a population increase. In sparsely populated areas depopulation will become a reality. The Nordic regions currently showing a negative population development will, by 2020, have decreased and this decrease, in general, will smooth over time.

Higher fertility rates The retreat of the welfare state, with social security systems supporting us 'from the cradle to the grave', has led to a revival of the family. As a result, fertility rates will increase as compared to the current levels. An increase in nuptality (the marriage rate) can also be expected.

The coming generations will likely display preferences other than those chosen by the ´baby-boomers` from the 1940's in respect of family and children. Since the 1960s we have seen a regional convergence in fertility rates across the Nordic countries. Around 2020 this convergence trend will be replaced by one of increasing divergence in regional fertility rates. To some extent this can be explained by the fact that an overwhelming majority of the population will live in a rather limited geographical area in the Nordic countries.

Emigration countries By 2030 it is not just well educated high income earners who will leave the Nordic countries due to the high tax-burden. Increasingly those with immigrant backgrounds will also have done so due to the discrimination they face and the problems that arise in relation to the imperfect nature of the labour market.

The second and third generation immigrants who have invested in tertiary education will simply not accept being unemployed or taking jobs in peripheral or rural parts of the Nordic countries.

Source: Journal of Nordregio, 2008, #1 (English)


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