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Is the Ratio of Present to Resident Population a Proxy for Urban Diffusion?

L. Salvati, K. Rontos


By analyzing changes in the spatial distribution of resident and present population in a growing urban area (Athens, Greece) between 1991 and 2011, the present study introduces a new indicator quantifying population redistribution across the urban region as a proxy for settlement dispersion. Results indicate significant changes in the spatial distribution of present to resident population in the study area. During the last twenty years, the ratio of present to resident population increases more rapidly in urban than suburban areas revealing different expansion processes at the regional scale. The ratio was proposed as a proxy for urban sprawl based on the correlation with selected variables describing population density and growth, distance from the inner city and settlement dispersion. All correlations were found statistically significant and indicate that the candidate indicator of city's diffusion is influenced by the urban gradient and the type of settlements (compact or diffused). The suburbanization phase occurring in the area until 1991 which determined population redistribution at the regional scale is properly described by the indicator illustrated here which represents a contributing tool to urban studies.


Urbanization, Resident population, Present population, Urban gradient, Municipalities, Southern Europe.

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