Social dynamics and economic cycles have driven population growth in Europe toward heterogeneous and hardly predictable spatial patterns. To assess the role of economic expansion and recession, our study identifies contextual factors of population growth and decline at the prefectural scale in Greece, a peripheral economy in Europe, estimating the differential impact of economic scale, agglomeration, accessibility, and amenities since the early 2000s. With economic expansion (2002–2009), population growth was largely dependent on agglomeration forces in both high and medium-density prefectures. The spatial model observed during recession (2010–2017) has instead reflected the inherent decline of agglomeration economies—with population increasing in accessible, rural districts with (natural and cultural) amenities. In more recent years, population growth in low-density coastal areas definitely suggests how demographic trends have been decoupled from the geography of income and wealth, reducing the divide in central and peripheral locations. The dominance of Athens and Thessaloniki in the Greek urban hierarchy progressively lowered, leading to a settlement model based on population growth in ‘intermediate towns’ and attractive/accessible rural locations. Such dynamics delineate a development path grounded on the spatial distribution of amenities, suggesting the existence of a ‘reverse density dividend’ that requires a specific investigation in advanced economies.
Toward a ‘reverse density dividend’? Population growth and socioeconomic evolution of Greek districts before and after crisis / Carlucci, M.; Ermini, B.; Polinesi, G.; Salvati, L.. - In: QUALITY AND QUANTITY. - ISSN 1573-7845. - (2022), pp. -1. [10.1007/s11135-022-01593-5]