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Hungary’s Agricultural Decline

Hungary, a country that rarely makes the news, is a relatively small country in the center of Europe.  It started as a part of the Ottoman empire, but now is closely tied to Russia. The country calls itself a democracy, but recently it has seemed to lean more towards being an authoritarian state. As many countries have experienced, Hungary is also become a much more urban country. The places where Hungarian citizens live have been shifting. For many years much of Hungary’s population lived in rural areas, farming to make a living, but as the country becomes more modern, more people are leaving the quiet farm life for big cities.

hungary-rural-population-percent-of-total-population-wb-data

(Population Living in Rural Areas)

This shift has created a divide between the urban and rural populations. This change seems to stem from many things, as it does in many countries. One reason more people have moved into urban areas is just that Hungarians are able to find better jobs in cities, there are more jobs and there is a wider variety of jobs. One of the greatest reasons; however, is the loss of industrial and agricultural jobs.

hungary-population-map

Since Hungary’s agricultural production has been declining for a long time, starting in the 1990s, Hungary’s population has become concentrated to living in cities, and no longer being spread out evenly throughout the country. Crop production and animal production have both decreased in the recent past. Agriculture has always been a big part of Hungary’s economy, with a large amount of employment coming from jobs in the agricultural sector. So, this decrease of overall agriculture has hit the Hungarian population very hard.

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Before the many transitions Hungary went through, political and economical, in the 20th century, Hungary was able to compete with other countries in Western Europe with their food products, but as the amount of towns and cities that are decreasing in population, competition is no longer possible. In the past, the industry had few issues, and was a practical line of work. Although there has been some support financially for Hungary’s agricultural sector from the Hungarian government, the invariable pay has led rural areas to lose able-bodied workers to better jobs in cities. This will probably cause even further decline the the county’s agricultural production.

Distribution_of_managers_according_to_their_age_and_the_extent_of_the_family_labour_force,_EU-27,_2013_(%_of_total_number_of_managers_of_all_ages)_Ag2016

This sharp increase in urbanization has also left an interesting proportion of ages living in Hungary’s rural areas. Much of the rural population is made up of elderly people. Leaving the older populations to take care of Hungary’s farms.

With this older population being situated in the rural areas of Hungary, there is also a concentration of their political views. Many Hungarians have been known to support far right views, and a large concentration of these nationalists are living in rural areas. These nationalist views stem from the late 1900s when Hungary was having many different economic, social, and political issues. This almost “backward” thinking further separates citizens living in rural areas from other urban Hungarians. 

Throughout history, people have moved to cities to find prosperity. In Hungary, through an overall decrease in agriculture, Hungary’s rural population has declined and the amount of people living in urban areas has sharply increased. In some ways, this has made Hungary a more modern country.