Population growth in rural regions

The presence of youth population is a potential asset for Chilean rural regions. Youth dependency ratios do not appear positively related to higher population density, except in three rural periphery regions with low population density: Parinacota and Tamarugal on the northern periphery and Tierra del Fuego in southern Chile. The low youth dependency ratios in these three regions are likely due to the extreme geographic locations and out-migration of a significant share of the youth. Notwithstanding this fact, in the rest of Chilean rural regions, the presence of relatively high youth dependency ratios, between 30-40%, can be an asset to rural regions if the youth are mobilised into the labour market contributing to productive activities. This also requires the need to provide adequate educational facilities in rural areas to ensure this potential is realised.

Figure 1.21. Population density and youth dependency ratios among Chilean TL3 regions,

2012

Note: Youth dependency ratios are defined as the share of youth population below 15 years of age to population between 15 and 65.

Source: OECD (2013), OECD Regional Statistics (database), http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/region-data-en. (accessed on 15 December 2013).

Rural regions must account for providing health and social services to the elderly population given that elderly dependency ratios are around the national average in the majority of rural regions. Elderly dependency ratios do not appear strongly correlated with population density. Among rural regions this trend is also present with the exception of three regions with very low elderly dependency ratios - Antarctica, Chilena and Tamarugal - and Parinacota with a very high elderly dependency ratio. In the rest of rural regions, elderly dependency ratios fluctuate around the average value. This suggests that the provision of elderly services is a challenge among Chilean rural regions, especially in remote rural regions with long distances.

Higher density levels are positively related to higher population growth in Chilean rural regions, in contrast to intermediate and urban regions, which appear to experience higher population growth in less densely populated regions. This suggests that the role of second-tier cities or rural towns present in predominantly rural TL3 regions is an important driver of population growth. In contrast, the higher growth rates present in low densely populated urban and intermediate regions areas might reflect signs of congestion in the most densely populated regions or dynamism in the less populated intermediate and urban regions.

Figure 1.22. Population density and elderly dependency ratios among Chilean TL3 regions,

2012

Note: Elderly dependency ratios are defined as the share of population above 65 years of age to population between 15 and 65.

Source: OECD (2013), OECD Regional Statistics (database), http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/region-data-en. (accessed on 15 December 2013).

Figure 1.23. Population density and population growth among Chilean types of TL3 regions,

1995-2012

Source: OECD (2013). OECD Regional Statistics (database). http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/region-data-en. (accessed on 15 December 2013).

Indeed, according to the OECD typology in the majority of TL3 Chilean rural regions, population growth surpasses the national average. Comparing population growth among types of regions in Chile reveals that almost 60% of Chilean rural regions experienced higher population growth than the average among types of regions. Although there are three rural regions - Chanaral, Parinacota and Tocopilla - the majority of rural regions are not suffering from population declines and are experiencing sustainable population growth rates.

Figure 1.24. Population growth among Chilean types of TL3 regions, 1995-2012

Source: OECD (2013), OECD Regional Statistics (database), http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/region-data-en. (accessed on 15 December 2013).

The majority of local municipalities in Chile (comunas) have a density below 50 inhabitants per km2. Amongst the 345 comunas in Chile, 78% of them (or 270) have a population density below 150 inhabitants per km2 - the criteria used in the OECD definition to define rural communities - 65% have a population density below 50 inhabitants per km2 and 28% of them have a population density below 10 inhabitants per km2 (Figure 1.25).

Non-urban regions, which include rural and intermediate municipalities within FUAs, were the most dynamic municipalities in terms of population growth over 2002-12. Examining the population growth trends among urban and rural municipalities broadly, as defined in the revised definition based on the FUAs (see first section) reveals higher growth rates in non-urban municipalities within the FUAs than in urban municipalities. Non-urban municipalities include both intermediate and rural regions. Nevertheless, it points to potential dynamisms among rural regions within urban FUAs. Rural regions outside FUAs recorded the lowest annual average growth rate over the period 2002-12.

The largest rural municipalities above 50 000 inhabitants are the most dynamic group of municipalities in population growth, surpassing the rate of growth of urban municipalities. Examining the growth patterns amongst Chilean rural municipalities outside the FUA reveals the presence of dynamic rural municipalities (50 000-100 000 inhabitants) growing above the national average in terms of population. This group of municipalities will likely be located close to FUAs or classified as rural towns in the proposed definition given they are the largest rural municipalities. It is interesting to note that the smaller municipalities are in the lower average population growth rate category. Rural municipalities below 5 000 inhabitants have experienced a declining population.

Figure 1.25. Distribution of municipalities in Chile ranked by population density, 2012

Source: OECD (2013), OECD Regional Statistics (database), http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/region-data-en, (accessed on 15 December 2013).

Table 1.6. Population growth among Chilean municipalities in the revised definition, 2002-12

Observations -

Total population

Total population (%)

Population growth

1992

2012

1992

2012

Weighted

Unweighted

FUA (U)

66

8 437 347

10 580 136

62.8%

78.7%

1.14%

1.07%

FUA (R&I)

28

897 471

1 146 388

6.7%

6.9%

1.23%

2.14%

Rural

251

4 110 616

4 845 836

30.6%

29.2%

0.83%

0.42%

National

345

13 445 434

16 572 360

100%

100%

1.12%

0.69%

Note: Data for 2012 are based on preliminary estimates from the census; the classification defining rural municipalities is based on the proposed revision described in the beginning of this chapter.

Source: Calculations based on data from the Chilean National Statistical Institute (INE).

Similarly, the most densely populated rural municipalities are the most dynamic group of municipalities. A similar pattern is present among rural municipalities outside FUAs in terms of population density. The most densely populated group of municipalities (above 100 population density) are the most dynamic in terms of population growth with an annual average rate of 2.05%, almost doubling the national growth (1.05%) and the growth of urban municipalities (1.14%). Municipalities ranging between 50 and 100 inhabitants per km2 are also growing quite dynamically in population. The rest of the municipalities record positive population growth on average except municipalities with a population density below 1 inhabitant per km2.

Table 1.7. Population growth among Chilean rural municipalities by population size, 2002-12

Population (in thousands)

Observations -

Total population

Total population (%)

Population growth

1992

2012

1992

2012

Weighted

Unweighted

50-200

15

1 039 663

1 484 668

7.7%

9.0%

1.80%

2.27%

25-50

38

1 134 817

1 282 966

8.4%

7.7%

0.62%

0.68%

10-25

98

1 423 091

1 561 505

10.6%

9.4%

0.47%

0.56%

5-10

55

387 766

405 205

2.9%

2.4%

0.22%

0.34%

1-5

32

116 844

105 435

0.9%

0.6%

-0.51%

-0.23%

< 5

13

8 435

6 057

0.1%

0.0%

-1.64%

-1.55%

National

345

13 445 434

16 572 360

100%

100%

1.12%

0.69%

Note: Data for 2012 are based on preliminary estimates from the census; the classification defining rural municipalities is based on the proposed revision described in the beginning of this chapter.

Source: Calculations based on data from the Chilean National Statistical Institute (INE).

Table 1.8. Population growth among Chilean rural municipalities by population density, 2002-12

Density

Observations

Total population

Total population (%)

Population growth

1992

2012

1992

2012

Weighted

Unweighted

> 100

16

589 116

884 811

4.4%

5.3%

2.05%

2.48%

50-100

28

734 746

951 271

5.5%

5.7%

1.30%

1.08%

20-50

63

1 121 309

1 247 014

8.3%

7.5%

0.53%

0.53%

10-20

50

704 740

729 288

5.2%

4.4%

0.17%

0.20%

1-10

59

806 522

889 474

6.0%

5.4%

0.49%

0.32%

< 1

35

154 183

143 978

1.1%

0.9%

-0.34%

-0.75%

National

345

13 445 434

16 572 360

100%

100%

1.12%

0.69%

Note: Data for 2012 are based on preliminary estimates from the census; the classification defining rural municipalities is based on the proposed revision described in the beginning of this chapter.

Source: Calculations based on data from the Chilean National Statistical Institute (INE).

In sum, these patterns using the revised urban and rural definition (see the beginning of the chapter) reveal a similar pattern among Chilean rural municipalities as in OECD rural regions in general. Indeed, across the OECD, rural regions close to cities are the second most dynamic type of regions in terms of population growth. These types of OECD regions also have highest population density values among rural regions.

Table 1.9. Population growth and population density among OECD types of TL3 regions,

1995-2009

Growth 1995-2009

Predominantly urban

Intermediate

PRC

PRR

GDP

2.02%

1.89%

2.03%

1.77%

Population

0.61%

0.33%

0.43%

-0.16%

GDP per capita

0.02

0.02

0.03

0.02

Level in 2009

GDP

42 175

16 788

9 043

6 542

Population

1 503218

718 719

488 297

156 298

Population density

1 175.0

146.3

52.5

21.7

Source: OECD (2013), OECD Regional Statistics (database), http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/region-data-en. (accessed on 15 December 2013).

 
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