Understanding Rural Change

Demography as a key to the future

Document identifier: oai:dalea.du.se:2642
Keyword: Social Sciences, Social and Economic Geography, Human Geography, Samhällsvetenskap, Social och ekonomisk geografi, Kulturgeografi, Demography, Rural, Sweden
Publication year: 2007
Relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
SDG 16 Peace, justice and strong institutionsSDG 10 Reduced inequalitiesSDG 11 Sustainable cities and communities
The SDG label(s) above have been assigned by OSDG.ai


The last decades have seen a rapidly growing interest in foresight methodology. Methods have been developed in corporate and governmental communication exercises often labelled technology foresight. In reality, these foresights have often drifted into processes of social change, since technological change is hard to foresee beyond what is already in the pipe-line. Forecasting of social change, however, must be based on solid knowledge about the mechanisms of continuity and change. Virtually nothing can be said about the future without relating to the past; foresights and futures studies are about revealing the hidden pulse of history. Hence, the answer to forecasting the future is empirical research within the social sciences. Demographic change has been recognised as a key determinant for explaining social change. Population changes are fairly predictable and the age transition can explain a wide range of socio-economic changes. For rural futures, demographic change is a key issue, since age structure in rural areas is often uneven and also unstable due to migration patterns. A number of policy related questions as well as research challenges are raised as a consequence.


Jan Amcoff

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Erik Westholm

Högskolan Dalarna; Kulturgeografi
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