After years following the breakdown of the Great Recession in Europe, crisis-driven urban shrinkage can be adequately investigated considering changes over time in selected demographic indicators, with a specific focus on migration. Using official statistics and a literature review, the present study documents the inherent demographic decline in metropolitan Athens (Greece) as a response to economic stagnation after a long-lasting expansion. The empirical results of our study delineate metropolitan shrinkage in Southern Europe as a process associated with complex socioeconomic conditions leading to (possibly counterintuitive) demographic outcomes as far as migration trends are concerned. Recession has determined unsustainable economic conditions especially for non-native population segments, promoting both class and ethnic segregation. The negative migration balance in the 2010s led to an intense population decline hitting settlements made already demographically fragile because of low fertility and aging. Athens became a sort of 'migrant trap', being progressively unattractive for incoming migration flows-both internal and international-and losing an increasingly high number of non-native residents settling in the area, especially during the 'gold' decade of the 2004 Olympics. A sudden reduction in immigration rates reflected both economic (recession) and non-economic (population aging, fertility reduction, and childbearing postponement) factors, causing an incipient shrinkage after secular urban growth. The empirical results of our study add to the traditional literature on 'industrial cities shrinkage' in Europe and contribute to (re)formulate short- and medium-term development scenarios in large agglomerations, shedding further light on the role of migration in crisis-driven processes of urban decline in Mediterranean Europe.
Toward a 'Migrant Trap'? Local Development, Urban Sustainability, Sociodemographic Inequalities, and the Economic Decline in a Mediterranean Metropolis / Ciommi, M; Egidi, G; Vardopoulos, I; Chelli, Fm; Salvati, L. - In: SOCIAL SCIENCES. - ISSN 2076-0760. - 12:1(2023), p. 26. [10.3390/socsci12010026]