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This article aims to examine the ageing situation and social policy issues in the Osijek-Baranja County of eastern Croatia. Using historical evidence from census data, research suggests that the evolution of the ageing pattern has been mainly determined by such factors as development of the transport system, changes in political-territorial organisation, supply of jobs in the cities, deagrarianisation and a domestic war in the 1990s. The increased importance of urban centres, through planned industrialisation and administrative centralisation, has accelerated and intensified rural-tourban migration. Consequently, the spatial pattern of structural ageing has been substantially affected. A significant variation was found in urban and rural areas and also within sub-regional units. The findings suggest that the evolution of spatial disparities in the ageing pattern is because of unplanned migration; spatial differences in the level of socio-economic development; the influence of tradition, such as higher fertility rates historically in some areas; and suburbanisation, notably around the city of Osijek. The article concludes that ageing is affecting the country’s economic growth and the formal and informal social support systems, including the provision of resources for older citizens in the endangered areas.
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