Diversification of the dynamics of population size and the number of the employed in small and medium-sized Polish towns from 1995 to 2010
towns, metropolitan areas, polycentric development, Poland
This paper presents partial outcomes of the project called 'The Diversity of the Development Processes of Small and Medium-Sized Towns and its Influence on the Polycentric Development of Poland'. The research conducted within that project has been based on the identification of two basic groups of Polish towns, regarding their locations either within the functional area boundaries of the regional capital cities (functional areas of voivodship centre), or outside. The goal of our research is to determine whether small and medium-sized towns maintain their roles as stable elements of the settlement network and their development is diverse, depending on their neighbourhood in respect of the regional capitals. The population and the employment fluctuation rates constitute some of a dozen of development indicators under examination. The changes in those indicators' values were identified in the period of 1995-2010, and additionally, two more sub-periods were identified: 1995-2003 and 2003-2010. Our research discovered essential differences in the population rates of small and mediumsized towns located in the functional areas of regional capital cities (Group I) and outside (Group II). In 1995-2010, we observed an increase of population in Group I and it was the only Group of towns with growing population nationwide. In view of the generally non-beneficial changes in the number of the employed nationwide in 1995-2010, a better situation occurred in the towns belonging to Group I. In some of the Polish regions, we found an increase of the number of the employed in that group of towns. An essential national increase of the number of the employed, identified in the sub-period of 2003-2010, was larger in the towns of Group I than Group II.