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Demographic Decline in a Rural Periphery : The Eshkol Region in Israel

Machline, Elise, Schwartz, Moshe
birth rate, cities, demography, employment, households, public transportation, rural urban migration, urbanization, France, Israel
As early as the industrial revolution, rural depopulation occurred in all Western countries due to the attraction of cities and declining agricultural employment. In Israel, that decline accelerated after the mid-1980s of the last century. However, the proportion of rural households in Israel has declined less than in France, which this study uses for comparison. The small size of Israel has allowed young families to inhabit the countryside while working in nearby cities. Such rural urbanization has not happened in Israel’s periphery, such as the Eshkol region (western Negev), where bad public transportation makes it harder to commute to Beer Sheva or Tel Aviv. Nowadays, low birth rate, ageing population and progressive depopulation characterize the Eshkol region. This study looks at the authorities’ coping with the ‘rural exodus’ comparing it to that of French authorities in the Limousin peripheral region.