A csernobili baleset térbeli hatása a Poleszje demográfiai és urbanizációs folyamataira = Effects of the Chernobyl disaster on the spatial demographic and urbanization processes of the Polesye region

Karácsonyi, Dávid (2014) A csernobili baleset térbeli hatása a Poleszje demográfiai és urbanizációs folyamataira = Effects of the Chernobyl disaster on the spatial demographic and urbanization processes of the Polesye region. Tér és Társadalom, 28 (1). pp. 130-154. ISSN 2062-9923


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The purpose of this study is to demonstrate the effect of the Chernobyl disaster on the regional structures of demographic development and urbanisation. Data on all districts (rayons) of Ukraine and Belarus and all districts of nine oblasts in the Russian Federation, totalling 846 territorial units, served as a basis for the survey. Three population censuses were held since the accident and the regional dynamics and structures over the past thirty years could easily be traced using the census data. Using factor (principal component) analysis an attempt was made to demonstrate principal differentiating demographic and urbanisation dimensions within the studied region, and to define among them those specific to the space affected by the accident which could then be disclosed as its consequence, i.e. the Chernobyl factor. Besides the quantitative analysis, field surveys were carried out in 2011 and 2012 both in Belarus (Brahin, Khoyniki, Elsk rayons) and Ukraine (Polisske, Narodichi, Ovruch rayons). Interviews were conducted in Luhiny (Ukraine) and Lelchitsy (Belarus) rayons. Both areas are located close to the zone of evacuation and have been affected by the higher levels of radioactivity. In the 10–15 years following the accident demographic processes took place basically at national and regional levels. Spontaneous migration and resettlement of the population had a profound impact upon demographic processes over extensive areas. In the 15–25 years after the accident these movements had slowed down. Local movements within the rayons, chiefly resettlement from the villages to the rayon center, came to the fore and this phenomenon became more apparent than in other regions. In the course of the survey it has become evident that regional population dynamics of the studied area have not been changed profoundly by the Chernobyl accident, but its effect could be proved for some indicators and in some smaller areas. Population loss would prevail even without the “Chernobyl effect”; it was merely accelerated by the accident. Population density was low earlier and it became even sparser afterwards. The event exerted a fundamental impact upon urbanization processes and settlement hierarchy. The initial set of indicators applied for the factor analysis contained both dynamic and static demography indicators that were separated from each other in the ultimate factor structure. The strongest factor reflected the rural settlement pattern as it contained indicators like density and size of rural settlements, rural population density, and change in the rural population. The second factor describing demography dynamics consisted of data on natural change in population. The third factor differed from the two dimensions above as it was characterized by variables referring both to the dynamic and structural elements in a mixed manner. In rayons without larger urban centres, i.e. of a low level of urbanization but with a high proportion of contaminated areas, higher factor values were obtained as well. This is a consequence of the situation in which the population is concentrated in decontaminated patches or in less polluted places within contaminated areas. Larger settlements and rayon seats suffer from population loss to a lesser extent than the average settlements. In contrast, tiny villages of peripheral setting experience a rapid depopulation. As a result a kind of enforced “urbanization” has been taking place, when urban population is also decreasing, with the exception of Belarus. In Ukraine it is the dichotomy of the Kiev agglomeration as a growth pole vs. the Chernihiv Oblast as a depressive negative pole that creates a conspicuous situation. This is mixed with the “Chernobyl effect” having modified the regional structure. In Russia the resettlement and negative processes have affected the Bryansk Oblast exclusively. In the Tula and Oryol Oblasts which have been also contaminated to a considerable extent, regional policies have not dealt with the issue, and the consequences of the accident virtually do not control demographic processes.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Csernobil, demográfia, regionális struktúra, urbanizáció, vidékies térség
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation / földrajz, antropológia, kikapcsolódás > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography / gazdasági-társadalmi földrajz > GF1 Settlement geography / településföldrajz
H Social Sciences / társadalomtudományok > HA Statistics / statisztika > HA1 Demography / demográfia, népesedési statisztika
Depositing User: György Váradi
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2014 10:35
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2015 15:53

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