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North-Hungary: Negative Migration Balance, Decreasing Population

The region of North Hungary is located in Hungary’s north-eastern part, on the territory of the Northern Mountains and the northern part of the Great Plain, containing three counties: Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén, Heves and Nógrád. Now appr. 12.6% of the Hungarian population live in this area which makes North Hungary the fourth place among the seven regions in Hungary.



Up to the nineties, North Hungary had been one of the most industrialised regions of Hungary, one of the domestic centres of mining and heavy industry (primarily, metallurgy and the engineering industry based on it) and chemical industry. However, by the end of the nineties, as a result of the decline of traditional sectors, recession in industrial production, the economic structure of the region had dramatically changed, which led to the permanent crisis of North-Hungary.



Because of the crisis the unemployment rate became extremely high that came with high migration potential as a result. Due to the termination of jobs discontinued as a result of change in the structure of the industry (mainly in metallurgy and mining), currently more and more people try to find a job in other regions of the country or abroad.

Since 1990 the population has decreased by 4%. The reasons for this fall in the population are the number of births being higher than the national average but still being very low, a higher mortality rate, and the negative migration balance in the region. The number of live births is the highest in underdeveloped micro-regions primarily in Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén county. Simultaneously, the population in these areas is getting younger, contrary to the regional trend. There is a considerable internal and international migration in the analysed territory, with special regard to the economically backward counties. The migration loss is limited to Nógrád and Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén counties.


The concentration of the population is indicated by five of the towns being located within the micro-region of Miskolc. In view of all the regions, urban population is the lowest in this region. Taking into consideration that the territory has mostly small and middle size towns that are in the periphery, in a relative closeness, we have to face the problems of decreasing demand for goods and services, number of entrepreneurs, job possibilities and also emigration. The negative tendencies effect mainly the younger generation, who find their chances in another region or county, making the population even fewer. Regarding the migration potential, the women under 25 the ratio is higher, but on the average the men-women ratio is quite balanced.