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Stronger job growth in urban areas

Infographic | 29-05-2016
Stronger job growth in urban areas

For centuries, people have migrated to cities to find work, and this trend continued into the 21st century. In the first decade of this millennium, European cities, on balance, outperformed rural areas in terms of job growth. The gap between urban and rural areas is widening; the difference in job growth in the 1990–2012 period in both area types across Europe (EU-27) was almost 15% (PBL, 2016).

Monitoring this trend is important in the context of both the European Union’s smart growth and inclusive growth agendas. In terms of job growth, different European urban areas show different developments. Geography and differences in the structure of national economies matter. In the 1990–2012 period, job growth in rural and urban regions virtually went hand in hand in Ireland, Portugal, Austria and the United Kingdom. At the other end of the spectrum, urban regions in Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Lithuania performed far better than their rural counterparts over the same time period. Romanian and Lithuanian rural regions, for instance, lost over 30% of their jobs. The Netherlands follows the EU average, albeit somewhat less pronounced in its divergence and at a higher overall growth rate. The only country which seems to defy the trend is Belgium; here, rural job growth outperformed that of the cities.

Source data

The line graphs are based on data from the European Regional Database by Cambridge Econometrics (version April 2015). The European Regional Database contains socioeconomic data for 27 European countries on regional scale (NUTS3) for the period 1980 to 2012. The definitions of urban, intermediate and rural areas are based on the ‘urban-rural typology’ by Eurostat and the OECD. The data was aggregated on regional scales (NUTS2 and NUTS3).

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