International migration to non-metropolitan areas of high income countries: Editorial introduction

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Increasing levels of immigration in response to ageing and fertility decline is one of the most significant demographic trends in OECD countries. Most of this immigration has focused on major metropolitan centres, but in recent years the proportion settling outside of these centres has increased. This phenomenon has largely got under the radar of policy makers and researchers alike but is significant for at least three reasons. The impact of ageing and fertility decline has been exacerbated in rural areas by outmigration so that immigration can potentially play a major role in reversing population decline and maintaining economic and social sustainability. In fact while immigration is much smaller in these areas, its impact can be magnified because of smaller local populations. Secondly, immigration is a neglected dimension of the much studied counterurbanistion phenomenon. Thirdly, the settlement experiences and integration processes for migrants in rural areas may be different to those of their urban counterparts. The countryside in high income countries is undergoing a transformation and international migration will play an increasingly important role in this over the next two decades. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-477
JournalPopulation, Space and Place
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2008


  • Immigration
  • Non-metropolitan areas
  • OECD countries
  • Settlement


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