Derivation of demographic depression index using GIS analysis - an example from Međimurje County

  • Ivan Marić Department of Geography, University of Zadar, Zadar (Croatia)
  • Snježana Mrđen Department of Geography, University of Zadar, Zadar (Croatia)
  • Silvija Šiljeg Department of Geography, University of Zadar, Zadar (Croatia)
Keywords: index of demographic-depressed areas, GIS analysis, vital settlements, Međimurje County, Croatia

Abstract

Over the past three decades, Croatia has been experiencing a process of depopulation and population aging. This is the result of demographic changes in the past, especially in the second half of the 20th century. In this paper, the index of demographic-depressed areas (iddp) for the settlements of Croatia was derived using GIS multicriteria analysis (GIS-MCDA). An iddp was derived for all Croatian counties (21) and detailed analysis of demographic-depressed and vital areas was conducted for the settlements of Međimurje County (131). This is recognised as the county with the highest achieved level of socio-economic development. A new methodological framework for deriving an iddp based on eight selected demographic variables has been proposed. The iddp was derived with GIS based on eight selected criteria using data from 2011 census results. The degree of demographic depression was divided into five classes: (A) distinctly depressed area, (B) less depressed area, (C) area at the edge of demographic depression, (D) vital area, and (E) distinctly vital area. The accuracy of the derived index was verified by analysing age-sex pyramids of the most depressed and vital settlements. The distinctly depressed demographic (A) is the predominant form of demographic settlement development in the six counties. These are areas that have been affected by rural exodus and depopulation, both of which were further intensified by the war from 1991 to 1995. Međimurje County was categorised as a (D) vital area. However, of the 131 settlements in the county, 28 were identified as demographic-depressed and 72 as vital. More than half of these 72 settlements (42) have the characteristics of a distinctly vital area, which is the highest proportion among all counties. The most vital settlements were Parag, Kuršanec, and Piškorovec. Their main feature is that a significant proportion of their population belongs to the Roma demographic. Derived population pyramids confirm the consistency of the generated index. Međimurje County is characterised by high variability among results (from extremely depressed to extremely non-depressed spaces), which indicates the impossibility of adopting uniform measures and policies throughout the county. In the future, the identified vital settlements have the potential to become the county's primary demographic resource. The proposed classification of settlements according to the derived index (iddp) could serve as a useful instrument in designing development policies or measures for this specific administrative-territorial unit.

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Published
2020-04-15
How to Cite
Marić, I., Mrđen, S., & Šiljeg, S. (2020). Derivation of demographic depression index using GIS analysis - an example from Međimurje County. Stanovnistvo, 58(1), 63-87. https://doi.org/10.2298/STNV191225001M
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Articles