Geographia Polonica (1988) vol. 54

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Redistribution of the elderly population in Poland: regional and rural-urban dimensions

Piotr Korcelli, Alina Potrykowska

Geographia Polonica (1988) vol. 54, pp. 121-138

Abstract

The ageing and the elderly are among the common key-wôrds in the social science literature today. One more specific theme, i.e. migrations by the elderly population, is of a particular interest to geographers as well as to some demographers and sociologists. The elderly migrants are found to reveal distinct behaviour and motivation patterns, hence this branch of studies is clearly separated from the main stream research on human migrations, and often closely interlinked with other lines of research on the elderly populations (see for example, Cribier 1982; Warnes 1982; Warnes and Law 1983).In Poland, the studies on elderly migrations were introduced by M. Latuch in the early 1970s (see: Latuch 1974, 1977; Bondaruk 1976) and focused initially on magnitude and causes of out-migration by elderly persons from the major cities, in particular Warsaw. More recently, a comprehensive analysis of social and economic factors of elderly migration was carried out by K. Stolarczyk (1985). Her study, was based on a special survey among a sample of persons aged 60 years and over who changed their place of residence during four selected months in 1979. In a parallel study, based on current population registration data, E. Frątczak (1984) attempted to estimate the role of rural-to-urban migrations, against fertility and morality change, in the growth of the elderly population numbers in Poland between 1950 and 1978. Finally, P. Korcelli and A. Fotrykowska (1986) discussed intependencies between mobility rates and family status of elderly migrants, and presented an analysis of migrations of the elderly by age and cause.The present paper looks into spatial patterns of the eiderly population and the recent configurations of elderly migration in Poland. Basic reference units comprise 49 vivodships, i.e. administrative regions of the upper level. Some migration data are also presented for a more aggregated division into urban and rural areas. Geographical distribution is an important dimension from the social policy perspective. Compared with other countries in Europe, the ageing of the population of Poland is neither very advanced nor particularly rapid. However, spatial concentration of the elderly popula-tion, as well as specific patterns of its redistribution, generate a number of policy issues on the regional and local level. Such problems range from the provision of specialized services to the maintenance of housing and the utilization of farmland.

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Piotr Korcelli, Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 30, 00-927 Warszawa, Poland
Alina Potrykowska, Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization, Polish Academy of Sciences Krakowskie Przedmieście 30, 00-927 Warszawa, Poland