Photo: Illustration/Pixabay

According to, out of the country’s seven regions, only Central Hungary’s population is growing, while it is decreasing everywhere else in the countryside, except for Western Transdanubia. Due to inland and international immigration and the different rates of natural reduction, the demographic processes of the regions are very much varied.

The emptying eastern part

Between 2016 and the beginning of 2017, the country’s population has decreased by 31,200 people, which was the fourth biggest loss in the past 20 years. Out of the whole, 27 thousand were measured in the eastern part of the country.

The only region where the population has been growing is Central Hungary – by 6 thousand people last year. The population has stagnated in Western Transdanubia for the last six years, but the rates show a decrease in every other region.

The changing of the population is influenced by natural reduction (or reproduction), and inland and international immigration. Regarding natural reduction, the population is declining in every region. The population of Central Hungary and the southern part of the Great Hungarian Plain decreased the most due to this reason last year (by 6,900 and 6,500 people).

Even though natural reduction was the greatest in the central region, the scale of both inland and international immigration is positive there. Almost 11 thousand people moved to Central Hungary from the other six regions, while 2 thousand people moved there from abroad last year. However, this is only half of the positive immigration rate estimated in 2010.

Besides the central region, the inland immigration rate of the two other developed regions, Central and Western Transdanubia, was also positive last year, but the other parts of the country are all hit by natural reduction and negative immigration. Out of the three East Hungarian regions’ reduction of 27 thousand people, 14 thousand was due to natural reduction, while 13 thousand was due to inland immigration.

The regions of Hungary – Photo: Wiki Commons by Peyerk

Ageing Hungarians

There are huge differences between the states of development in Hungarian regions. Only Western and Central Transdanubia could hold a candle to the richest Central Hungarian region including the capital city. The economies of the other four region lag behind a lot. This determines the typical direction of inland immigration: young adults and middle-aged people wishing to study or work all leave to these regions, where salaries are higher, the selection of jobs is wider and the infrastructure is more developed.

The immigration of the youth increases the average age directly and indirectly (through the decrease of birth rate), thus increasing the old-age dependency rate. This rate signals how many retired dependent (older than 65) fall onto one person of working age (15-64 age group).

The oldest county is Békés, where 31 retired fall onto 100 people of working age. The situation is only a bit brighter in Zala and Somogy County, where 100 people of working age fend for 30 retired, while the old-age dependency rate is the highest (30%) in Heves and Nógrád County.

In 2016, 27 retired dependent fell onto 100 people of working age in Hungary, so in the counties mentioned above 100 working people get 3-4 more elderly than the average.

The counties of Hungary – Photo: Wiki Commons by Peppe83

The old-age dependency rate is the lowest in Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County, where less than 22 retired fall onto 100 people of working age. Furthermore, the situation is better than the average in Pest, Hajdú-Bihar, Győr-Moson-Sopron, Fejér, Borsod and Komárom-Esztergom County.

Where do the most children live?

In counties that are attractive from the point of view of inland immigration and where relatively a lot of children are born, the old-age dependency rate is typically lower.

So not only the developed regions, to where many people move from other parts of the country, have a demographic advantage, but also the poorest counties where the birth rate is relatively high.

Proportionally, most children live in Pest County, where about 25 children fall onto 100 people of working age. Pest is followed by the northern part of the Great Hungarian Plain and North Hungary.

The leaders of the negative demographic trends are Békés, Zala and Somogy County, which are characterised by many retired people, few children and negative immigration rate.

Even though the population is getting old in the whole country, there are some counties, where this is happening slower than average: either due to the positive inland immigration rate or due to the higher birth rate (or in some places both).

The absolute winner of the country’s inland and international immigration is Central Hungary, while the less developed regions are slowly emptying. And these processes leave bigger marks on the changes of population than other demographic trend that are less connected to development (birth rate, mortality rate).

Ce: bm


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