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E.-Jürgen Flöthmann (2007)

Regional Impact of Demographic Ageing – Small-Scale Analyses Using the Example of the Districts and Urban Districts of North-Rhine/Westphalia*

In: Zeitschrift für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, Vol. 32, 1-2/2007, p. 137-159, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, ISSN: 0340-2398

At the beginning of the 21st Century, Germany is experiencing intense demographic ageing which is second only to that seen in Japan. The progress of this development differs widely in the individual regions because of the diversity of demographic processes and settlement structures. High- and lowdensity regions, old industrialised, prosperous service-orientated and traditionally agriculturally-orientated regions sometimes immediately border one another. These differences are also reflected in the demographic structures. They are clear not only as to the level of ageing, but also and above all as to the dynamics with which the changes in age structure are taking place. The regional differences in demographic change are hence based not only on different causes, but also lead to very different impacts in the individual regions, and therefore they require corresponding concepts. Regional forecasts prove unmistakeably that these regional discrepancies will not reduce overall during the next two decades as ageing increases. These differences are particularly pronounced in the Federal Land North-Rhine/Westphalia, which has the largest population.

Ageing is accompanied in many regions by a "singularisation of age", that is an increase in the number of single older people and a drop in the potential of family members to provide long-term care. At the same time, the cohort of the elderly is becoming more varied, with more and more elderly people having a migration background. These changes impose different requirements on the regional settings and the public infrastructure, as well as on the areas of housing and supply. Furthermore, specifically in shrinking regions, the requirements of elderly people for transport and mobility will lead to adjustments and to completely new concepts. All local stakeholders are affected by demographic ageing: policy-makers, administrators, enterprises, churches, clubs, associations, etc. This is a typical cross-sectional task which requires cooperation both between the various regional players, and between the administrative levels of the Federation, Länder and municipalities.

* Original title: Regionale Auswirkungen der demographischen Alterung – Kleinräumige Analysen am Beispiel der Kreise und kreisfreien Städte Nordrhein-Westfalens (full text in German only)

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