Depopulation of Rural Areas: Social, Economic, and Environmental Issues

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472). This special issue belongs to the section "Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 25 June 2024 | Viewed by 2537

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture, University of Sassari, 07100 Sassari, Italy
Interests: industrial organisation; development economics; econometrics; farming; agricultural policy; farm management
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture, University of Sassari, 07100 Sassari, Italy
Interests: agricultural economics; rural development; agro-environmental economics; farm management; productivity and efficiency estimation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Depopulation is one of the main problems plaguing rural areas. The United Nations estimate that the population living in rural areas will decrease from the current 45% to 30% in 2050. In the EU, only one fifth of the population live in rural areas. Moreover, this type of area has experienced an annual rate of decline in inhabitants of 0.1% between 2015 and 2021. In the United States, between 2010 to 2020, 73% of rural counties experienced a population loss of more than 5%. China's rural population in 2020 is 28% lower than in 2000.

Rural depopulation induces many negative effects on the economic, social, and environmental balance of rural areas. From an economic perspective, the production capacity tends to shrink and, consequently, the abilities of rural areas to generate income, to promote trade flows, and to attract investment are reduced. The tax revenues of these territories decrease, while the average costs per inhabitant of public services, such as the construction and management of local infrastructure, increase (OECD, 2021). Emigration from rural areas affects the solidity of families and weakens social ties in the community.  Population loss increases the likelihood of environmental degradation, the risk of fires, and the disappearance of local agricultural and livestock production.

This Special Issue intends to collect papers examining the multiple aspects that, on an economic, social, and environmental level, characterise the issue of rural depopulation. Interest will be reserved for papers that, with reference to rural areas, address issues such as poverty, social structure, rural–urban relationship, technological innovation, costs and benefits of public services, economics of farms, institutional and land management problems, and policy measures. Papers addressing general topics as well as analyses of case studies will also be appreciated.

Prof. Dr. Roberto Furesi
Dr. Fabio A. Madau
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • depopulation
  • rural development
  • rural demography
  • territorial and local policies
  • rural–urban relationship

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

24 pages, 5961 KiB  
Article
Spatial Analysis of Intercity Migration Patterns of China’s Rural Population: Based on the Network Perspective
by Yihu Zhou, Huiguang Chen and Tingting Fang
Agriculture 2024, 14(5), 655; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14050655 - 24 Apr 2024
Viewed by 516
Abstract
Since entering the 21st century, many developing countries around the world have begun to enter a stage of rapid urbanization; large-scale “rural-urban” population migration has become a typical social phenomenon in these countries. Against this backdrop, this paper aims to elucidate the spatial [...] Read more.
Since entering the 21st century, many developing countries around the world have begun to enter a stage of rapid urbanization; large-scale “rural-urban” population migration has become a typical social phenomenon in these countries. Against this backdrop, this paper aims to elucidate the spatial migration characteristics of rural populations and to discuss future rural–urban development strategies. For this purpose, this paper takes China as a case and employs methods such as spatial autocorrelation analysis, hotspot analysis, and network analysis to construct an intercity migration network of rural migrants and analyze its spatial characteristics and internal structure. The results indicate that the migration pattern of the rural population exhibits notable spatial clustering features. Cities in the eastern and central regions are, respectively, hotspots for the inflow and outflow of rural populations, with internal migration dominating in western cities and relatively inactive rural population movements in northeastern cities. Municipalities directly under the central government, sub-provincial cities, and provincial capitals show a significant tendency to attract rural populations, while prefecture-level and county-level cities mainly radiate rural populations outward. Cities nationwide form seven major clusters in the migration network, and these clusters exhibit distinct structural characteristics. Rural population migration is influenced by various factors. In the future, considerations should focus on the county as the primary unit, attracting rural populations for local employment, and promoting rural revitalization and agriculture development. The findings of this paper are of reference significance not only to China but also to many developing countries with similar national conditions in the world. Full article
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19 pages, 529 KiB  
Article
Institutional Pension Insurance in Sustainable Development of Urban–Rural Intergenerational Support
by Chen Kang, Mingwang Cheng and Xinyu Wei
Agriculture 2024, 14(3), 430; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14030430 - 7 Mar 2024
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Abstract
Parental downward support plays an important role in urban and rural sustainable development. It is of great significance to study parental downward transfers and their motivation. However, there is no consensus on the motivation behind parental downward transfers in China. This study examines [...] Read more.
Parental downward support plays an important role in urban and rural sustainable development. It is of great significance to study parental downward transfers and their motivation. However, there is no consensus on the motivation behind parental downward transfers in China. This study examines the timing and monetary impacts of social pensions on parental downward transfers and assesses the motivations behind them. We found that pension insurance encouraged rural parents to provide time and monetary support to their children. Unlike rural parents, pension insurance increased the monetary support of urban parents but inhibited their time support. Because of the higher income level of urban parents and the better organization of the domestic service market, parents have the motivation and conditions to reduce their time support and increase monetary support. Our findings highlight the importance of parental downward transfers in urban and rural sustainable development. Full article
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