Population Change andMigrations in Lithuania: Trendsand Hidden ProcessesDonatas BurneikaLithuanian Social Research CentreRūta UbarevičienėLithuanian Social Research CentreDelft University of Technology
The aim and objectivesThe aim is to reveal the main trends of thetransformations of the Lithuanian settlementnetwork in the context of migration processes.The main objectives – analysis of populationchange, “official” and hidden migrations and theircauses as well as some consequences of theseproceses
Emigration – finding out hidden reasons• Unemployment, wage differences, bad or goodimages of places and all other reasons ofmigrations are well known, but they do not explainthe exceptional scale of the process in Lithuania.• Why Lithuanian are so exceptionally “emigrable”,though economy of the country is notexceptionally bad?
Emigration – finding out hidden reasons• Answers may be related to the reasons, which arebeing analysed quite rare.• They theoretically could be related to exceptional“mind” or “consciousness” of our citizens, alwaysperceiving that grass is much greener in yourneighbours yard. But we don’t have serious proofof somewhat strange brain structure ofLithuanians…• So what is exceptional in Lithuania, comparing toother countries, causing such a will or need toleave your place?
Present trends – consequences of spatialstructure of Lithuanian society• Any society has more or less optimum spatialstructure according to its state of development andgeographical structure of the country.• Changing society means changing spatial structureand therefore movement of population. Sounderstanding migrations is difficult ignoringprocesses of transformations of society.• Foreign migrations (emigration, namely) shouldnot be analysed and could not be fully understoodignoring migrational processes inside the country,because these two processes are interrelated.
Urbanisation and metropolisation• Redistribution of population from rural areas tourban and especially to metropolitan regions isabsolutely natural process happening in alldeveloping countries, because rural jobs areshrinking few times due to technological changes,while best jobs are concentrated in biggestmetropolitan areas due to the comparativeadvantages they can offer.• Therefore many (and in some places the most)Lithuanians have got no option between toemigrate or not. They do only have option whereto?
Unique Lithuanian settlement system –historical and geographical heritage• Historical reasons determined creation of second capital city(Kaunas) and geographical reasons raised the Klaipėda(Lithuania is the only state in the region with the peripheralcapital, which is not sea port).• Prevention of the development of the biggest cities, especiallyVilnius, and expansion of medium sized towns into cities, givingthem regional functions was carried out in the Soviet era. Thiscreated network of medium size cities.• It worked O.K. in the society without competition, but none ofthe other European state of similar composition have evolvedsuch a uniform urban system, without dominant metropolitanarea, which would serve as a main economic axis of the countryand compete with similar ones abroad.
Settlement system of Lithuania – result of exceptionalhistorical and geographical circumsatnaces as well as uniquespatial planning
10 biggest cities in Baltic countriesLithuania – was (is) the only small or medium size country inEurope without clear dominance of one metropolitan region01000002000003000004000005000006000007000008000001 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10LithuaniaLatviaEstija
Transformation of space as a consequenceof transformation of society• Emigration, and especially scale of emigration partly could beperceived as another negative heritage of the Soviet regime.• Post-soviet transformations together with processes ofglobalisation and Europeanization have been transformingLithuanian society.• So, emigration (apart from other reasons) is a continuationof “suspended” processes of urbanisation andmetropolitisation. It is a natural process, which gained“unnatural”, exceptional character due to the deminishingpolitical, economic and “mental” borders and exceptionalsocio-spatial structure of the country.• Therefore, there are very few possibilities to stop thisprocess, but maybe it could be regulated by changing thedestinations of those leaving their hometowns.
The result – differences of GVA per capita (2009)
General trend- population increase 1959-1989- population decrease 1989-2001
Regional differences of population change1989-2011
Total population change in Lithuanian cities and LAU2 regions2001 – 2011
Trends of the metropolization will be expressed more by shrinkageof secondary cities than by expansion of capital city-region
Pace of emigration from municipalities in 2001 – 2012
Migrations from municipalities to other destinations in Lithuania
Emigration from municipalities to foreign countries. Citiesdominate – instead of becoming the final destination pointsfor emigrants, their become a transit points
Approximate number of labour migrants and their origin in thebiggest cities in 2012 (hidden migration is of the same scale asofficial)01000020000300004000050000600007000080000Vilnius Kaunas Klaipėda Šiauliai Panevėžys AlytusOtherAlytusPanevėžysŠiauliaiKlaipėdaKaunasVilnius
Destination of labour migrations to the city municipalities
Gathered income tax and proportion of population inmunicipalities
I. Result of depopulation – spread of sparsely populatedregions in Lithuania
II. Change of number of pupils in schools of general educationin 2001 – 2011
Change of number of schools of general education in 2001 – 2011
The city sprawlExpansion of Vilnius city region in 1990 and 2011 – result ofinternal migrations and poor regional planning
Simplified structure of Vilnius city (functional) region
Foreign migration – why Scandinavia?Economic “Scandinavisation” of Eastern Baltics is more thanobvious. This process ends within state borders of Balticcountries.Foreign direct investments in Lithuania050000001000000015000000200000002500000030000000199719981999200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011RussiaScandinaviaCentral Western Europe
• Natural processes of depopulation of rural areasrelated to continuation of delayed urbanisation willpersist in Lithuania and in surrounding countries. It willbe making negative impact on local population first ofall by damaging their expectation and hopes, but nottheir incomes or living standards.• Such trends will continue to fuel both inner andforeign migrations. Developing business contacts andother relations with Scandinavian countries willguarantee that Nordic dimension of foreign emigrationwill be dominating.Conclusions
• The state policy in such new sparsely populated areasshould concentrate not on preservation of number ofpopulation or existing service networks or hausing facilities,but on adoption of these to new reality.• Strengthening local communities and local self-governing, improving communication networks,simplification of land use conversion procedures,disseminating objective information of on-going processesand other similar actions would make much more effectiveinfluence on the prosperity and life satisfaction of localpopulation.Conclusions
• Metropolization in Lithuania will not reach the degree ofother countries of the Baltic sea region and remainingEurope. The difference of on-going socio-economic changesand transformations of settlement structure will causevarious social, economic and psychological tensions inLithuania.• Such a situation and inherited polycentrism of the countrywill cause bigger emigration flows than in the other post-socialist countries. The management of the urban networkshould be based on the idea of solidarity and unity, but noton the uniform settlement network of the country.Conclusions