Population mobility among regions

Urban regions continue to be very attractive for people, especially youth, accounting for almost 80% of in-country youth migration over the last three years.

The way people move within their countries has important implications for both demographic structure and labour market outcomes. The long-term trend of increasing urban population, which has been characterising most OECD countries, has been continuing also in the most recent years. In the 32 observed OECD countries, 21.5 million people changed their region of residence each year, during the period 2014-2016. This movement corresponded to 2% of the total population in the OECD area, ranging from around 5% of total population in Hungary and Korea to less than 0.5% in the Slovak Republic (Figure 3.9).

3.9. Annual inter-regional population mobility
Flows across TL3 regions, % of total population; average 2013-2016

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933817504

Regional migration does not affect all regions of a country in the same way. Sejong (a newly created and promoted administrative district of Korea), Gümüshane (Turkey) and Phocis (Greece) were the TL3 regions with the highest positive net migration rate, 21%, 2.6% and 2.5% of the regional population, respectively. In contrast, Kars (Turkey), Central Athens (Greece) and the Northern Rockies, British Columbia (Canada) were among the TL3 regions with the highest net out-migration rates (Figure 3.10).

3.10. Population flows across small regions (TL3).
Net flows across TL3 regions, % of total population; average 2013-2016

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933817523


Data refer to yearly flows of population from one TL3 region to another TL3 region of the same country (regional migration). Outflows are represented as the number of persons who left the region the previous year to reside in another region of the country, while inflows are represented as the number of new residents in the region coming from another region of the country.

The net migration flow is defined as the difference between inflows and outflows in a region. A negative net migration flow means that more people left the region than entered it.

Young migrants are those aged between 15 and 29 years old.

In the 28 OECD countries for which data are available, regions with predominantly urban population experienced, from 2013 to 2016, an average net in-migration flow of seven people per every 10 000 inhabitants. In contrast, intermediate and rural regions faced net out-migration flows of two and 11 persons, respectively, per every 10 000 people (Figure 3.11).

3.11. Annual regional population flows by type of region
Net flows across TL3 regions per 10 000 population; average 2013-2016

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933817542

Youth mobility represents, on average, 6% of the total within-country migration and occurs mainly from rural to urban regions, where young people (aged from 15 to 29 years old) seek educational and professional opportunities. In Latvia, Estonia, Japan Israel, Korea, Spain, Sweden, Slovak Republic, Australia, United Kingdom, Czech Republic and Norway, more than 90% of young migrants move to regions with predominantly urban population (Figure 3.12).

3.12. Young migrants in urban regions as a % of young migrants in the country
Positive net population flows of youth (15 to 29 years old) across TL3 regions; 2006 and 2016

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933817561


OECD (2018), OECD Regional Statistics (database), http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/region-data-en.

See Annex B for data sources and country-related metadata.

Reference years and territorial level

2013-2016; TL3.

Data for Chile, France and Ireland are not available at regional level.

Further information

Territorial grids and regional typology (Annex A)

Figure notes

3.9-3.12: Available years: Germany, Latvia and United Kingdom 2012-2015; Italy, 2011-2013; Greece 2012; Slovenia and United States, 2009-2011; Netherlands 2008-2010.

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