By Hans Olav Bråtå, Ph.D. Research Professor. Eastern Norway Research Institute, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences. Lillehammer, Norway.
Many rural municipalities have a shrinking population, an increased share of elderly and a decreasing share of young people. This is frequently the case in mountain communities.
Shrinkage causes economic problems and a need to reduce the cost level for municipal services, including reducing staffing and the number of service locations public services or centralise them within the municipality. This is painful to local communities. Another issue is over-investments, based on wishful politics of a future population growth which turns out to be absent. This often accelerate economic problems. (more…)