Core - Periphery Divide in Spatial Demographic Development of Latvia: Policy Challenge or Continuous Development Pattern?

Aleksandrs Dahs, University of Latvia
Juris Kruminš, University of Latvia

Since the restoration of independence in 1991, spatial demographic development in Latvia has been characterised by a widening core (central area of the country: capital city Riga and Pieriga region) and periphery (surrounding regions and counties) gap. Regional municipal statistics testify that observed demographic dichotomy differs by variables used, but is consistent in terms of spatial distribution and demonstrates stable deviating trends.

While the divergent population development paths for the core and periphery regions are obvious, the principal policy dilemma which they pose remains controversial – weather the different modes of regional demographic development are just a temporary policy challenge, or do they form a background for further continuous demographic development pattern? These questions are closely linked with scenarios of regional socio-economic development and environmental protection. Additional repercussions are associated with the current situation and expected changes in taxation system.

Aim of the study is to analyse a factual changes and differences in demographic development in the core and periphery areas of Latvia since country joined the European Union, and to compare how they conform to guidelines given in national planning and policy documents, and how those changes and peculiarities are evaluated by residents.

Presented in Poster Session 3