Socio-economic differentiation and selective migration in rural and urban Sweden

University dissertation from Umeå : Umeå universitet

Abstract: The aim of this thesis is to analyse migration and socio-economic differentiation in rural and urban spaces: where people move, what the characteristics of migrants are and whether experiences of rural and urban space affect attitudes toward the local living environment and place attachment. The background consists of five themes discussing different aspects of socio-economic differentiation and selective migration, for example polarization and rural gentrification. Integrated in the five themes are summaries of the four papers.The first paper, The divided city? Socio-economic changes in Stockholm metropolitan area, 1970-1994, analyses the income distribution in the Stockholm metropolitan area using residential area statistics regarding income among residents. The results show that polarization and segregation has increased during the study period. The second paper, The attraction of the rural: Characteristics of rural migrants, analyses the socio-economic and demographic characteristics of migrants to the countryside in Sweden using individual register data. The results show that urban areas attract the young, the highly educated and those with high income while rural areas attract older migrants, the self employed and families, but when comparing rural areas, periurban countrysides were more attractive to those with high income and education than more remote areas.  The third paper, Rural gentrification as a migration process: Evidence from Sweden, focuses on rural gentrification as a migration process and is based on an analysis of register data. The results show that rural gentrification in the remote countrysides of Sweden is of marginal importance. In the fourth paper, Place attachment and attitudes among young adults in rural/urban spaces, young adults’ (25-40 years of age) attitudes toward the rural/urban qualities of their local living environment and their place attachments are investigated using a survey. The results show that most people appreciate the environment they live in and they are also attached to this place. However, urban residents with a rural background seem less pleased with and are less attached to their present environment.In conclusion, migration selectivity works to reinforce both patterns of segregation and patterns of ageing. There is indication of both demographic and socio-economic polarization between and within rural and urban areas and this polarization is reinforced by selective migration flows. However, the results also indicate that rural areas are attractive living environments to many, particularly the periurban countryside and that there may be a rural migration potential among urban residents with a rural background.

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