C23 regional centres’ population projection 2040: half of all provinces have a growing centre

According to MDI’s C23 population projection, the population generally and working-age population growth in particular, will increasingly be concentrated to the employment ‘hot spots’ of large cities. Every second province will however have a growing centre. According to the forecast, 12 of the 23 central cities will grow and 11 will decline in population terms by 2040.

Municipalities within the functional areas of major cities will continue to grow, but this situation is already changing as we move to the edges of the employment ‘hot spots’. Elsewhere in the country, population growth will only continue in the core municipalities of the area.

Population concentration occurs at several levels at the same time: from smaller cities to larger, medium-sized university towns to the metropolitan area and to other major cities in the growth triangle, as well as from the periphery of large cities and provinces towards the city centres.

The strongest growth is focused on the growth triangle, but growth is almost entirely focused on the tops of the growth triangle, primarily to the growth hubs of the big city centres. Outside of these areas, the population is shrinking quite significantly, even on the peripheries of an otherwise strong Uusimaa.

On the other hand, the potential growth of medium-sized cities is not enough to raise the surrounding municipalities into a growth trajectory. Growth, moreover, looks like remaining weakest in traditional industrial cities with limited access to higher education.

Many cities and provinces show significant potential for stronger than anticipated growth. These ‘hidden potential’ factors are based on the efforts of cities and municipalities to improve growth and competitiveness and to exploit potential location benefits. In particular, housing costs, soft pull and push factors related to the living environment and transport services may have an impact on future migration flows. Increasing the cost of living in a growing central city, combined with fast working connections and expanding employment opportunities, combine to raise, potentially, some cities to a new, stronger profile.

MDI has calculated a 2040 population projection for all provincial centres (C21 + 2 *), for the surrounding employment hot spots and for the provinces outside these areas. The forecast is based on the most recent birth rates, relative migration tendencies for 2015–2018 and the average level of migration in the 2010s, as well as mortality corrected for improved life expectancy.

For more information, please contact: Rasmus Aro, Expert, MDI tel. +358 40 187 1027 or rasmus.aro@mdi.fi

* All cities with more than 50 000 inhabitants are part of C23. In addition, provincial centres with more than 50 000 inhabitants (Kokkola and Kajaani) have been added. The C23 group is Helsinki, Espoo, Tampere, Vantaa, Oulu, Turku, Jyväskylä, Lahti, Kuopio, Pori, Kouvola, Hämeenlinna, Seinäjoki, Rovaniemi, Mikkeli, Kotka, Salo, Porvoo, Kokkol and, Kajaani.