Table of Contents
Urban Studies Research
Volume 2016, Article ID 5395379, 18 pages
Research Article

Shrinking Regions in a Shrinking Country: The Geography of Population Decline in Lithuania 2001–2011

1OTB-Research for the Built Environment, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology, Julianalaan 134, 2628 BL Delft, Netherlands
2Department of Human Geography and Demography, Lithuanian Social Research Centre, Goštauto 11, LT-01108 Vilnius, Lithuania
3Department of Geography & Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews, Irvine Building, North Street, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9AL, UK

Received 9 January 2016; Accepted 25 February 2016

Academic Editor: Jianfa Shen

Copyright © 2016 Rūta Ubarevičienė et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Shrinking populations have been gaining increasing attention, especially in postsocialist Eastern and Central European countries. While most studies focus on specific cities and regions, much less is known about the spatial dimension of population decline on the national level and the local factors determining spatially uneven population change. This study uses Lithuanian census data from the years 2001 to 2011 to get insight into the geography of population change for the whole country. Lithuania has experienced one of the highest rates of population decline in the world in the last decades. The predictive models show that regional factors have a strong effect on the variation in population change throughout the country but also reveal that sociodemographic and economic area characteristics play a role in the process of decline. Our results give little hope to those who would like to reverse the ongoing trends of population change and emphasize the need for spatial planning to cope with the changes. This is an approach which currently does not exist in practice in Lithuania.