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Euroregion Baltic faces strong depopulation pressure, with Poland and Lithuania both experiencing marked population declines, especially in rural areas, in the last 20 years – thanks to immigration abroad. Internal immigration to these countries’ cities is also taking place. While Germany, Sweden, Russia and Denmark have achieved temporary improvements in population indicators, this was thanks to their willingness to take in war refugees – a factor therefore incidental in nature, and not impacting upon an overall trend seeing people move out of rural areas in large numbers. With a view to this challenge being addressed in a more permanent way, research described here assessed whether the introduction of youth-policy measures might allow for better revamping of regional policies so as to persuade young people to remain in their regions. An assumption underpinning this work was that departure from a region reflects deficits in spatial justice, first and foremost an unequal distribution of infrastructure vis-à-vis education, housing, recreation, jobs, and so on. To determine which spheres critically underpin a decision to leave, young people’s preferences for their futures were studied under the CASYPOT project, involving 6 localities in four of the Euroregion’s states. In the event, the research was able to confirm a capacity on the part of youth surveys to deliver information on factors critical to decision-making that can be regarded as of value as regional policies are reorientated to try and ensure a higher level of spatial justice. The survey showed that factors most likely to prompt out-migration among young people relate to insufficient educational services and the inadequacy of the labour market.
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Projects co-financed by:
Operational Program Digital Poland, 2014-2020, Measure 2.3: Digital accessibility and usefulness of public sector information; funds from the European Regional Development Fund and national co-financing from the state budget.