Population Age Structure: An Underlying Driver of National, Regional and Urban Economic Development

Anders Malmberg*, Bo Malmberg, Peter Maskell

*Corresponding author for this work

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This paper argues that population age structure plays a significant role alongside institutional, technological, political, and cultural factors when it comes to explaining shifts in urban, regional and national economic development. The paper demonstrates how demographic transitions lead to changes in population age structure which in turn correlate with global shifts in economic development from 1950 onwards. It then analyzes the role of population age structure at the sub-national level by reviewing some prominent cases of regional and urban shifts in Western Europe and North America. Population size, population density and migration have always been an integrated part of economic geography, and the consequences of ageing in national and regional economies are increasingly being studied. The specific role of population age structure as a driver of economic development has, however, so far largely been ignored in the field.
Original languageEnglish
JournalZFW - Advances in Economic Geography
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)217-233
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Published online: 22 November 2023.


  • Working age ratio
  • Age structure
  • Economic growth
  • Regional shifts
  • Demography
  • Aging

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