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2 Ongoing Projects

Policy Recommendations to Maximise the beneficial Impact of Unexplored Mobilities in and beyond the European Union (PREMIUM_EU)

How can the individual benefits of migration translate into societal benefits for the regions people leave behind? PREMIUM_EU will use original research to find out why and offer tailor-made policies that counter the migration patterns which harm remote regions. Migration is a contentious issue in many parts of Europe, and policies that are seen as too favorable to migrants often face opposition from local communities. Shifts in labour sectors, housing shortages, integration tensions. These are some of many concerns receiving countries have about migrant flows. On the other hand, many remote regions face the opposite reality. People are moving and no migrants are arriving to replace them. When highly skilled workers migrate out of a region this can have negative impacts on the economy and social fabric of the region. Loss of talent and expertise combined with an aging population leaves communities in crisis. What will PREMIUM_EU do? PREMIUM_EU is built on the premise that spatial mobility, or the ability of people to move freely between different regions, can offer new opportunities to both sending and receiving regions. Europe’s population would shrink dramatically without migration. This project seeks to identify the positive effects of migration that are often overlooked.The lengthy acronym outlines the goal concisely: “Policy REcommendations to Maximise the beneficial Impact of Unexplored Mobilities in and beyond the European Union”. There are three research milestones that come together to achieve the main goal, which is a Regional Policy Dashboard. A palette of concrete policy actions that European regions can choose from. Project milestones Nordregio is leading the policy analysis and AI-generated policy dashboard during the third milestone, as well as leading communications throughout the entire project, including publications, events/conferences, stakeholder engagement, press, research newsletters etc. How does PREMIUM_EU work? Led by Leo Van Wissen, Senior Researcher and former director…

Employers’ role and responsibility in the integration of refugees and migrants

The overall aim of the project is to give a Nordic knowledge base on the role of employers in the process of integrating refugees and migrants in the labour market. The project will further highlight some promising examples of when the integration process has been successful. Labour market participation is central in the integration process of refugees and migrants. Research shows that it is difficult for refugees and migrants to find jobs, especially for low-skilled, non-EU born and women. The labour market integration of people born outside the EU is on average about 17 percentage points lower than that of people born in the EU. The recent crises, the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine, have not improved the situation. At the same time, the Nordic countries are suffering from labour shortages and are trying to attract hands and brains from abroad. Successful integration of migrants in the labour market presents an opportunity for our societies. Employers have an important role to play in integration. This project examines the status of this role in the Nordic countries, addressing the following questions: To what extent have companies, organisations and other employers hired people with an immigrant background? What are their experiences of the benefits and obstacles? To what extent is discrimination against immigrants widespread in the labour market and workplace? What can the governments and municipalities do to support companies in employing migrants? To provide a reply to these questions, the project will be articulated in three main steps. A thorough literature review will explore benefits and challenges experienced by employers in the Nordic region in the integration process of migrants and refugees. Then, based on interviews with employers and competent authorities, the project will also present concrete examples of promising practices and policies to increase labour market integration. Finally,…

Early career mobility in the Nordic region

Recent Nordregio studies show a difference in migration intensities and patterns between adults in their 20s and 30s. The aim of the project is to understand the migration drivers from the university towns and urban areas in the Nordic region, targeting adults in their early careers. The project will put an emphasis on urban-to-rural migration, addressing cross-cutting themes such as gender and the green transition.  It is no surprise that the net migration to university towns and urban areas is positive for people in their 20s while the migration patterns of people in their 30s are much more diverse. But where do young people migrate to after their studies?   Data shows that  people in their „early career“ leave capitals and university towns and move to rural and intermediate municipalities that are close to larger urban municipalities, but also some more peripheral   How could migration trends be supported and enhanced through regional development policy? By understanding the migration drivers of young people, regional actors could better prepare and respond to potential opportunities of positive migration flow to rural and remote areas. To support these opportunities for Nordic regional development, the project will explore the determinants of migration in the Nordic region and seek to identify the motives and drivers of early-career urban-to-rural migration.                    This research project builds on and contributes to several currently running Thematic Group projects examining migration and mobility in the Nordic countries, including the projects Re-Start Competence Mobility in the Nordic Region (Lundgren et al, 2021-2024), and Remote Work and Multilocality (Linda Randall et al, 2021-2024). The project is funded by the Nordic Thematic Group for Green, Innovative and Resilient Regions (2021-2024). 

Combatting long-term unemployment post-Covid – focusing on immigrants in the Nordic countries

As the Covid-19 pandemic slowly fades in the Nordic countries, many people, especially immigrants, are still unemployed. Most notably, the number of long-term unemployed (12 months or longer) men and women is increasing. Data shows that the probability to find a new job decreases the longer the unemployment period prevails. Unemployed immigrants are often in a more disadvantaged position than natives as they might have limited work experience in the host country and smaller professional networks. Women from outside Europe are also less likely than natives to have a higher education, which further reduces their job opportunities. Special attention and targeted support measures are therefore important to facilitate the labour market (re-)integration of immigrants on the Nordic labour markets. Project aims, goals and deliverables Overall, the project aims to build a more systematic knowledge base about immigrants’ experience of long-term unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Which groups are more affected than others, and which policies and measures are planned or implemented in the Nordic countries to speed up their labour market re-integration? The project will also facilitate Nordic knowledge exchange and knowledge building between key actors thereby ensuring Nordic added value. First, we will gather data on the number of long-term unemployed immigrants in the Nordic countries, and – if possible – consider gender, age, level of education, region of origin, and sector of previous employment. Second, in close cooperation with “Clearingcentralen” ( and their Nordic expert group on labour market integration of immigrants, the project will identify and discuss ongoing efforts in the Nordic countries and regions: highlight good examples, evaluated success factors, lessons learned, as well as planned measures for the near future. The project will be concluded in a concise and reader-friendly report showing the results of the quantitative analysis, and a description of…


Re:Urbia project focus on the state and development of suburban housing estates in Finland. The research project analyses multidimensional segregation processes in these suburban areas from the perspective of residential migration, schools and the attraction and holding power of suburbs, and re-conceptualises planning solutions and services in the suburbs. Nordregio’s participation in the project is related to providing up-to-date knowledge about the socio-economic state and development of suburban housing estates constructed during the 1960s and 1970s. The work package is based on updating and further extending the analysis of Finnish suburban housing estates based on Nordregio Senior Research Fellow Mats Stjernberg’s (2019) PhD research. This, together with surveys conducted in selected estates, will provide new knowledge about the development of these types of areas both in Finland overall as well as in the partner cities of the consortium (Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Jyväskylä). Re:Urbia is part of Lähiöohjelma, funded by the Finnish Ministry of Environment for the years 2020–2022 for promoting positive development in suburbs. The project is led by the University of Helsinki, and also includes researchers from Aalto University as well as practitioners from the partner cities of the consortium.

Integrating immigrants into the Nordic labour market – The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic

Nordic countries have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has taken a substantial toll on economic growth and employment level. Immigrants may have been disproportionately affected, even though Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden already face serious challenges in integrating immigrants into their labour markets for several years. This project aims to make a contribution to further research into the consequences of the pandemic. Current data and statistics on unemployment trends in the Nordic countries shall be presented in order to obtain a comprehensive overview of the current labour market situation of immigrants. The project shall revisit and update the main findings, conclusions and policy recommendations of the 2019 report ‘Integrating immigrants into the Nordic labour markets’ in the light of the pandemic. Target groups The target group of the project includes national, regional and municipal authorities who are involved in integrating immigrants into the Nordic labour market. The recommendations on how to support labour market integration during the pandemic and going forward may also be relevant for civil society organisations, employers’ organisations, chambers of commerce and other actors in the Nordic region and beyond who are working with refugees and other immigrant groups.

Update of the VASAB-LTP for the Territorial Development of BSR

This project aims to update the strategy VASAB Long Term Perspective (LTP) for the territorial development of the Baltic Sea Region – BSR. The revision of this transnational strategic spatial planning document on territorial integration builds on relevant topics of existing VASAB LTP (1994, 2009) and will incorporate a future-oriented perspective. The revision will consider current and future trends that are likely to influence the territorial development of the macro-region. The update of the long-term vision is envisaged as an iterative and participatory process involving a wide range of relevant stakeholders. Together with Spatial Foresight, Nordregio will develop a background synthesis report that will cover the experience and lessons learned from the current VASAB long-term perspective; important trends shaping future developments in the Baltic Sea Region and key relevant policy documents to which the long-term perspective need to relate to. This report will be fundamental to guide the new spatial vision that will endeavour for a sustainable, inclusive and digital Baltic Sea Region in 2040.

Covid-19 Economic Impacts in the Northern Periphery and Arctic region

The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated how closely health and economy are linked. This project analyses the economic impacts of the pandemic in the Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) region, as well as Canada. The main aim is to set out the recovery roadmap with recommendations for positive action and policy that can create more sustainable and resilient communities and economies. The project gathers 13 partners to examine how Covid-19 hit the countries’ economies and what responses, innovations and transformations took place as a result. The partners are coming from very diverse background geographically, institutionally, and in terms of expertise. That will assure the vast diversity of knowledge and perspectives to the project. The project will give special attention to peripheral areas in the NPA region and to young people and entrepreneurs (up to age 40), to gain their unique perspectives and innovations on Covid-19 responses and sustainable development. It will also add a human rights perspective on the inequities of health systems/economies, including for peripheral and indigenous communities within the NPA. Nordregio will provide relevant comparative data (economic and health) across the Nordic Region and the Arctic, including harmonised data across the NPA region. Also, the partner will share the relevant findings from previously conducted relevant projects. The ultimate goal is to set out a recovery roadmap with recommendations that will improve health, wellbeing as well as social, cultural and economic benefits for peoples across the NPA. The findings of the study will be presented in the form of the report in the spring of 2021, as well as via webinars and social media channels.

FUME: Future Migration Scenarios for Europe

The FUME project aims at understanding the patterns, motivations and modalities of migration at multiple geographical scales, from international through regional to the local, and on imagining possible futures. Local circumstances play a major role in migration processes, from the decision to migrate through the transit process up to the settlement in the destination countries. Nearly all international migrants move to – generally the largest – cities in destination countries, either directly, or after one or more internal moves. This is also the case across Europe, where population growth in many cities can be largely attributed to an influx of migrants. At the same time, in countries of origin the largest cities often function as gateways to destinations abroad. Many potential migrants in villages and small towns in origin countries first move to these larger cities before leaving their country. Cities, therefore, both in countries of origin and destination, are significant determinants of global migration and small-scale local knowledge on migration is necessary to avoid misleading results associated with the limitations arising from the use of global or national patterns only. FUME will study the migration to and from a number of key migration cities/centres to determine 1) the major factors explaining migrant movement patterns by analysing regional and local circumstances that either attract migrants or ‘push’ potential migrants to move, and 2) elaborate how possible future regional sociodemographic, economic and environmental challenges may shape future migrant movement patterns in Europe. The project will support appropriate planning and policy-making by formulating integrated and coherent visions of how migration to and within Europe might evolve under different scenarios relating to potential demographic, socio-economic, political and environmental challenges. Nordregio is leading two work packages, WP2 on Migration data and WP7 on Communications and dissemination. The project is funded by Horizon 2020 programme.…

Statistical report of Innlandet-Dalarna

Starting January 1st, 2020, Innlandet will be a new region consisting of two current ones – Hedmark and Oppland. The creation of the new territorial structure is a result of the regional reform in Norway. On behalf of the Hedmark-Dalarna Border Committee, Nordregio will carry on an analysis regarding the development within the two regions of Innlandet, Norway, and Dalarna, Sweden, that will also serve as material for a statistical report. The report will serve as a follow up for a similar report produced by Nordregio in 2013/2014 and will consist of an introductory chapter with basic short facts regarding the geography of the border region, followed by the four main themes of: Population Labour market and economy Quality of life and tourism Infrastructure and communication.

Demographic vulnerability for Swedish-Norwegian border municipalities

In order to emphasize the diversity and variety of Nordic regions and municipalities, Nordregio has been utilising the concept of “demographic vulnerabilities”, which is based on demographic data. This approach has been used since 2011 to analyse Nordic and Baltic municipalities and regions. In this project, it will be brought up to date, relying on statistical data from 2018, with a focus on the Swedish – Norwegian border. The demographic vulnerabilities index is a summary of ten demographic components on municipal level in all Nordic countries, such as age structure, gender balance, population natural change and net migration. These indicators help identify municipalities that share common demographic dynamics and challenges. The analysis for the “Demographic vulnerabilities for the Swedish – Norwegian border municipalities” project will be carried on at three levels: The Nordic region in general Sweden and Norway as countries The Swedish – Norwegian border municipalities In addition, the index will be combined with the supplementary statistics from the State of the Nordic Region 2018 with a focus on the border municipalities. Visit the publication: Demografisk sårbarhet 2019 The map “Nordic demographic vulnerability index 2019” The map shows the demographic vulnerability index in Nordic municipalities in 2019.

Adapting European Cities to Population ageing: Policy challenges and best practices

The population in the European Union (EU) is undergoing a process of population ageing with implications for public spending, services, the labour market and many other areas of public and societal life. The project analysis challenges and adaptation to ageing population in eight European cities. The stakeholder cities of Barcelona, Zaragoza, Gothenburg, Hengelo, Oslo, Greater Manchester, Amsterdam and Nantes are similarly affected by ageing, with concerns exacerbated by increasing levels of transnational migration, spatial segregation, and pockets of deprivation, which all impact the lives of older people. Thus, an important challenge for the cities is to adapt their policies and deliveries to better serve the needs of older residents. This project will study how the eight stakeholder cities are dealing with challenges posed by population ageing. This will involve comparing the various policy-responses that the cities have adopted to become more age-friendly. An important question will be to uncover why some policies have been more successful than others. While population ageing is often perceived as a challenge, it can also present opportunities. The project will help the cities tap into the potential that older people present. The results will not only be relevant for the stakeholder cities but also for other cities that are confronted with similar challenges. Main project outcomes include the following: New knowledge concerning the quality of life of elderly residents in different cities. Knowledge of how urban environments can support social integration and inclusion while counteracting social isolation among the elderly. Good practice examples of how to involve elderly residents as partners in decision-making in questions that concern them. Nordregio is leading the first work package of the project in which we analyse demographic trends in the stakeholder cities, review the state of the academic literature on population ageing in urban environments, and review relevant policies…

Transport support for elders and handicapped in the Nordic rural regions

This project aims to analyse transport challenges and possibilities for the less mobile part of the population in the rural areas of the Nordic Region, elders and handicapped in particular. The scoping analysis will focus on the following questions: What is the legislation and support programs in place in the Nordic countries regarding mobility? What changes are ongoing or planned and which administrative levels are responsible for securing this part of population equal rights to mobility? How does this correspond with the Nordic Co-operation Handlingsplan för nordiskt samarbete om funktionshinder 2018-22? The project serves as an input into a larger project launched in 2019 titled Regional disparities and the geography of services within the Nordic countries which is a part of the Nordic Thematic Group for Sustainable Rural Development.

Rural tourism in the Nordic region

This project looks at the challenges facing the development of a more sustainable rural tourism in the Nordic regions. Sustainable tourism has been defined as tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities. The challenges of rural tourism include capacity constraints on capital and labour, natural and physical capital and strong seasonal differentiations that require considerations for optimal investments. The project looks more closely at how these challenge are met in various rural areas within the Nordic region. Building on previously built-up knowledge from the Nordic Arctic working group (2013-2016), we will firstly conduct a scoping analysis that will map where regional destination management plans are in progress, initiated or finalized. Secondly, we will conduct a Pan-Nordic development of national tourism satellite accounts to bring the accounts to regional level of analysis. Through case studies we will aim at investigating dynamics of local tourism innovation in order to see how tourism stakeholders including the local community benefit from tourism development. The following aspect will be considered throughout the project/cross cutting: Regional Planning Transport and maintenance and security (sea, air, land) Landownership / almannarätten Land-use (nature-culture collisions and/or symbiosis) The project “Rural tourism in the Nordic region” is a part of the Nordic Thematic Group for Sustainable Rural Development.

Health care and care with distance-spanning technologies, e-health and digitalisation

The Nordic countries face similar challenges regarding an ageing population and depopulation of the rural areas. This poses challenges to the traditional health care and care systems. One way of dealing with these challenges is to take advantage of digitalization and distance spanning technologies. The project Healthcare and Care with Distance-spanning Technologies (Vård och omsorg på distans, or VOPD) aims at supporting the development of distance spanning digital solutions in health care and care in the Nordic Region. It was initiated by the Swedish chairmanship program of the Nordic Council of Ministers 2018 and runs until 2020. The objective is to survey the use of digital technology in health care to display best practice and analyse regional development effects. The project has published 24 distance-spanning solutions for healthcare and social care. This publication contains the 24 most relevant digital solutions in healthcare and care in our five Nordic countries. What they have in common is that they are widespread; meaning that they are already implemented in many places, the solutions work and have a proven track record. Another distinguishing feature of these solutions is that they are a collection of different digital services that make a big difference, positive contribution, to many people daily life around the Nordic region. Nordregio is responsible for conducting case studies in the Nordic countries: Sogn og Fjordane and Luster kommune, East Iceland and Fjarðabyggð and Fljótsdalshéraði, Västerbotten and Storuman, Nord Denmark and Morsø Kommune, South Karelia and Lappeenranta.  More information is available at the project website: The following categories of distance solutions in health care and care are included in the survey:• Remote treatment – health care treatment provided from distance (incl. telemedicine, treatment and consultation via online tools and self-treatment)• Remote monitoring – monitoring from distance (incl. sensors, cameras, reminders and data…

Polar Peoples: Past, Present, and Future

Polar Peoples examines population trends across the Arctic over the past, the present, and into the future, using tools of demographic and geographic analysis to describe temporal and spatial trends in the size and composition of the Arctic populations, examine the causes of these changes, and the implications of these trends for the economies and societies of the Arctic regions and countries. Three different time periods are examined in Polar Peoples, each using different data and methods and different hypotheses. Polar Peoples in the Past: The past examines the period from the first International Polar Year (IPY) in 1882-1883, the time of increased exploration of the Polar regions and start of intense interaction between the indigenous peoples of the Arctic and outsiders, to the most recent IPY of 2007-2008. Examination of past population trends in the Arctic is based on archival research and historical census records. Polar Peoples in the Present: Analysis of current population trends in the Arctic is based on data from 2010 round of population censuses and other current demographic statistics. Polar Peoples in the Future: Future population trends in the Arctic projects out one generation to 2050. Analysis of the future will be a combination of demographic projections, modelling, and fieldwork in the region to determine the size, composition, and distribution of Arctic population as well factors driving these trends and their implications, including the role that states play in affecting the populations of their northern and Arctic peripheries. Polar Peoples will result in articles in academic journals, one of them being “Where did all the men go?: The Changing Sex Composition of the Russian North in the post-Soviet period” by Timothy Heleniak, a book, policy briefs, and a conference which brings together both researchers and statisticians and as well as policy makers from northern regions. Polar…

Rural Norden in 2050: Spatial perspectives on demographic and economic futures

The purpose of this project is to provide policy makers at the national and regional levels an idea of what the size, composition, and geographic distribution of the rural populations in the Nordic countries might look like at mid-century. There has been a long-term trend of urbanisation across the Nordic countries – increased concentrations of the population into larger urban settlements – which is likely to continue. While some rural municipalities will continue to grow, it is likely that many will continue to decline in population and also experience rapid population aging. What are the implications of these demographic trends for rural regions in the Nordic countries a generation from now – in 2050? The project will draw partially on population projections done by the national statistical offices of the Nordic countries to examine the size, regional concentration, age-sex distribution, shares of foreign-born persons, and other characteristics of the rural populations in the Nordic countries in the future. It will also analyse structural changes in the rural economies of the Nordic countries. The project will contribute to the Thematic Group for Sustainable Rural Development Programme.


The REVIVAL project aims at exploring new approaches to study local and regional development in mountainous and sparsely populated areas. Using case study analysis, the project looks at two main concepts, namely Transitional Labour Market and Residential Economy. This investigation would contribute to better understand development potentials in the selected case studies in Georgia and Russia and possible ways to overcome territorial development challenges. Transitional Labour Market (TLM) is a dynamic approach of the labour markets which is based on transitions between various statuses (employed, non-employed, inactive, etc.) rather than on stocks as support of supply and demand interaction. The TLM approach adds insightful perspectives since it includes individual transitions in the analysis of labour market that the traditional approaches of labour market are unable to capture. It is particularly relevant today due to growing mobility of workers, new forms of jobs emerging based on flexible contracts, etc. Residential Economy (RE), is one of the four components of the local economy, focusing on the importance of redistribution mechanisms of wealth between territories. It corresponds to income entering the local area by population groups who do not have their economic activity in this area (e.g. out-commuters, pensioners and tourists). Nordregio will lead this project and be responsible to transfer some of the knowledge from ESPON Bridges, where the two concepts of TLM and RE are currently under investigation, to the REVIVAL project partners by the ways of workshops. Nordregio will assist them in the analysis of the case studies and disseminate the findings.

Rural attractiveness in Norden

The attractiveness project seeks to capture the reasons behind why people choose to leave sparsely populated / remote and urban adjacent rural areas, why they move there, and why they always have stayed there. Looking at demographic and employment data over the past 10 years and in different rural areas in the Nordic region, we can see remarkable variations in terms of in- and outmigration and local job effects. Traditionally, the perspective has been that people follow jobs. However, jobs also follow people. During the last decades, increased prosperity, more leisure time, changes in job and housing structures, digitalisation, access to outdoor and recreation, lower housing prices and the wish to participate in local community life all are potential drivers for changed migration. This is what this project seeks to investigate. We are particularly interested in the motivation of young people to leave rural areas or stay and what local municipalities and businesses have done in order attract or keep people and jobs. To capture and understand these developments, the project combines quantitative analyses of population, demography and job change with qualitative analyses (interviews) and document analysis in order to understand why and how some municipalities do better than others. Interviewees include public authorities, businesses and entrepreneurs, high school students and families. The project envisages to produce four types of outcomes: Highly visual maps and tables (migration patterns, demography and jobs) Case Study profiles of selected municipalities from all Nordic countries & regions Indicator Set – What makes a region attractive Policy evaluation & future strategies – How to frame policies in order to create attractive localities Engaged Thematic Group members helped to identify the following case study areas: Find Rural Attractiveness Project Cases and Story-maps here:  The project contributes to the Nordic Thematic Group for Sustainable Rural Development Programme.  

Improving Urban-Rural connectivity in non-metropolitan regions (URRUC)

This project aims to develop a transport policy toolkit for stakeholders to support transport policy decision-making and enhance connectivity between urban and rural areas across Europe. Transport accessibility and mobility are central to connecting people to essential services, business and employment opportunities. Provision and accessibility to transport services in peripheral rural areas is significantly worse than in urban. Improving urban-rural connectivity would help promote entrepreneurial investments in local and regional economies as well as increase quality of life for those with inadequate or restricted access to essential services and employment opportunities. The project encompasses 4 European territories with comparable urban-rural transport connectivity challenges in non-metropolitan areas in close proximity to rural spaces namely Scarborough Borough, UK (Lead stakeholder), Marina Alta (Spain), Regione Liguria (Italy) and Västerbotten County (Sweden). The research exercise will involve desk-based research to identify emergent transport policy initiatives and theory that can be implemented by policymakers to improve transport network efficiency in their territories. Case studies from the partner territories will also be undertaken by researchers to identify challenges unique to participants and how these challenges have been met. Opportunities for discussion and collaboration will also be facilitated at 4 network events, encouraging knowledge transfer and consideration of new approaches to transport policy improvement. The end product will be a toolkit containing recommendations based on emergent theory as well as real world experiences that will allow transport policy best practise to be identified, giving stakeholders access to a suite of potential transport policy solutions that can be tailored to their specific needs. Nordregio contribution to the project: Lead partner for WP 2.2. – Analysis of existing and emerging patterns of urban-rural linkages Conducting an extensive case study focusing on flexible urban-rural transport solutions/systems in the Västerbotten county as well as contextualizing the challenges encountered and outlining the…