Urbanization, internal migration and segregation in Hungary between 1990 and 2011

Zsolt Németh, Hungarian Central Statistical Office (HCSO)
Katalin Füzér, University of Pécs

By extending the scope of prior research (Németh 2011), the authors examine the transformation of spatial social structure in Hungary between 1990 and 2011 and argue that classical processes of urbanization can be identified only with substantial limitations and modifications of the original model. Part of the difference is that urbanization in Hungary was less extensive, suburbanization proceeded very rapidly between about 1990 and 2005, which was followed, instead of deurbanization, by the currently still ongoing process of reurbanization. The thrust of the difference, however, is that only a segment of society has been involved in these processes, as the greater part of the country’s territory and the third of all internal migrations are still fundamentally connected to rurality. This means that the urban-rural divide has effectively been reinforced in the Hungary of the past twenty years instead of being overcome in the course of cycles of urbanization. The methods are twofold: the primary tool, Social Stratification Index (SSI), has been developed by Németh using census data from 2001 and 2011 in order to characterize the social composition of migrating populations as well as those of settlements, positioned along a comprehensive scale ranging from urban centers to rural peripheries. The other research tool, the social exclusion index, has been adapted by Füzér from the urban rehabilitation policy world of the EU where segregated urban areas are delineated by a segregation indicator that compresses information about two main dimensions of social exclusion: exclusion from acquiring knowledge and labor market exclusion. Analysis of census data from 2001 and 2011 indicate that Hungarian society has become a two-speed society with part of the society jumping on the bandwagon of urbanized EU and the global economy, with rest lingering behind largely in and around rural Hungary.

Presented in Session 7: Internal migration and residential segregation