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Policy Brief

A Long-Term Vision for the Development of Rural Areas in Europe

Insights from demography

Population decline in rural areas has recently gained importance on the European Union’s (EU) agenda and is currently among the priorities related to demographic change for the Vice-President for Democracy and Demography of the European Commission. A previous Population Europe policy brief provided recommendations on how rural areas can respond to these population changes while offering a good quality of life (Lines, 2020). In this current policy brief, eminent demography scholars present key insights from the discipline, aiming to contribute to the current debates on the future of rural areas in Europe.
A Long-Term Vision for the Development of Rural Areas in Europe

Key Messages

  • Even if it is clear that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for developing rural areas, some policy needs, such as access to health care and broadband Internet, are universal. Information and communications technology (ICT) skills should also be vastly promoted.
  • Women in rural areas are an essential aspect for the development of these communities. Regions need to become more attractive for women in terms of employment, and social and political participation opportunities.
  • The future development of many rural areas is highly dependent on whether their populations are willing to accept more population diversity, e.g. as a result of in-migration. Policy-making can help foster social contact between the native population and newcomers.
  • Communities and local governments should provide more opportunities for all residents to be involved in the decision-making process. This gives them the chance to shape their towns and to create a sense of belonging.


**Thank you to the Centre for Longitudinal Population Studies (Centar za longitudinalne populacijske studije, CLPS) for providing a summary of our policy brief in Croatian.




Additional Information

Authors of Original Article


Čipin, I., Klüsener, S., Recaño, J. & Ulceluse, M. (2020). A Long-Term Vision for the Development of Rural Areas in Europe. Insights from demography. Population & Policy Compact 27, Berlin: Max Planck Society/Population Europe.