Quotation Barakat, Bilal. 2014. A ‘Recipe for Depopulation’? School Closures and Local Population Decline in Saxony. Population, Space and Place, 21, 735-753.




A popular notion asserts that closing the last primary school marks a community’ s demographic death. No young parents will remain, much less new ones move in. This notion is frequently voiced but rarely verified. Are school closures a cause or consequence of local decline? This study reviews existing research on school locations and peripheral population decline to show that expectations of a dramatic impact of school closures on out-migration are theoretically ill-founded. I proceed to discuss specific methodological challenges in the empirical analysis of this re- lationship, and conduct a statistical analysis for the province of Saxony in East Germany for the period 1994–2007. In contrast to the prevailing discourse, there is little evidence of an appre- ciable effect of primary school closures on local population decline. This negative finding is discussed in light of local contextual factors and general insights from population geography.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Population, Space and Place
Citation Index SSCI
Language English
Title A ‘Recipe for Depopulation’? School Closures and Local Population Decline in Saxony
Volume 21
Year 2014
Page from 735
Page to 753
Reviewed? Y
DOI https://doi.org/10.1002/psp.1853
Open Access N


Barakat, Bilal (Former researcher)
Research Institute for Human Capital and Development FI (Former organization)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
1809 Social geography (Details)
1813 Population geography (Details)
5403 Educational sociology (Details)
5404 Demography (Details)
5405 Empirical social research (Details)
5702 Population statistics (Details)
5703 Demography (Details)
5704 Social statistics (Details)
5804 Educational economy (Details)
5805 Educational planning (Details)
5806 Educational sociology (Details)
5906 Educational economy (Details)
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