Friday, March 16, 2018

Deindustrialization & Population Decline


Population change from 1990-2010: (green = rising population, purple = falling population)

This week's release of the Alperin-Sheriff/Wikipedia Population Dataset provides us with a great resource for studying American population trends. This Introduction to the Alperin-Sheriff/Wikipedia Population Dataset, in the form of a story map, provides a great introduction to the data and briefly examines where populations in the USA are growing and where they are in decline.

The story map is mostly concerned with introducing and explaining the data but it does briefly touch on the declining populations in the industrial Midwest. This decline is perhaps explained in this Financial Times article, Shrinking cities: population decline in the world’s rust-belt areas. The article explores how deindustrialization is happening across much of the world, as manufacturing and industrial jobs in industrial heartlands move elsewhere in the world.



Cities with the largest population decline 2005-2015

This decline from deindustrialization isn't just limited to the American rust belt. It is also happening in former industrial powerhouses throughout the world. Cities in the German industrial heartland are in decline and even China's north-eastern rust belt is beginning to experience decline.

The Berliner Morgenpost's Where the population of Europe is growing – and where it’s declining allows you to explore more closely recent population decline in Europe. It shows that there is some decline in the German industrial heartland of the Ruhr valley. However this decline doesn't seem much worse than elsewhere in Germany and isn't as bad as the decline being seen in the former East Germany.

Obviously not all population decline can be explained by deindustrialization. The Washington Post used the same data to explore some of the population trends that are shown in the Morgenpost's map. Their article on Where Europe is growing and where it is shrinking notes that populations are declining in the former East Germany and other former countries of the Eastern bloc (except for Poland which has experienced growth). It appears that some areas of western Europe have managed to mitigate against the population decline normally associated with deindustrialization by taking in economic migrants from countries in the former Eastern bloc.
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