Simon Davies:

Život u ruralnoj Bosni: Muka, idila ili nešto između?

I bez faktora ‘gurni’ ili ‘povuci’ da bi se ruralni Bosanci potakli da se urbaniziraju, malo čudi što se ruralno stanovništvo ne pomjera proteklih 20 godina. Oni koji se urbaniziraju više vole da krenu u gradove u Austriji ili Njemačkoj gdje su barem faktori ‘gurni’ jači nego u Bosni.

29.09.2015.

Simon Davies:

Life in rural Bosnia: Anguish, idyll, or something in between?

With neither the “push” nor “pull” factors to encourage rural Bosnians to urbanize, it is little wonder the rural population has remained stagnant over the last 20 years. Those who do urbanize prefer to leave for cities in Austria or Germany, where at least the pull factors are stronger than in Bosnia.

29.09.2015.

Skoro svaki od pet ruralnih Bosanaca je siromašan, i ruralni stanovnik u Bosni je vjerovatno dvaput siromašniji od njegovog sunarodnika koji živi u gradu. Ovo vrijedi kad se računa da se prag siromaštva bazira na zahtjevima minimuma kalorija i drugih osnovnih životnih potreba. I još više vrijedi u zemlji gdje 60 posto stanovnika još žive na selima, što se nije promijenilo od vremena Jugoslavije.

U Bosni, ruralni život je u opadanju tokom proteklih 20 godina. Doslovno. Nije neobično vidjeti skoro napuštene male gradove ili sela u ruralnoj Bosni. I lako je razumjeti zašto. Prema popisu iz 2013, broj stanovnika u Bosni je pao sa predratnog broja od blizu 4.4 miliona na samo 3.8 miliona – pad od 13 posto. Ruralna područja dijele istu proporciju ovog pada kao i urbana.

Odrastao sam u malom selu od 400 stanovnika u ruralnoj Engleskoj i mada volim gradove zbog mnogo razloga (što je najrječitije opisao Ed Glaeser), ruralni život ima posebnu važnost u bosanskom slučaju. Zašto se treba fokusirati na ruralni život u Bosni?

Nearly one in five rural Bosnians is poor, and a rural dweller in Bosnia is twice as likely to be poor as his city-dwelling compatriot. That matters when you consider that the poverty threshold is based on minimum calorie requirements and other basic life essentials. And it matters even more in a country where 60 percent of people still live in the countryside, unchanged since Yugoslav times.

In Bosnia, rural life has been declining over the past 20 years. Literally. It’s not unusual to see half-deserted small towns or villages in rural Bosnia. And it is easy to understand why. Bosnia’s population declined from a pre-war peak of close to 4.4 million people to just 3.8 million according to the 2013 census—a fall of 13 percent. Rural areas have shared an equal proportion of this decline with urban ones.

I grew up in a small village of 400 people in rural England and, while I’m a fan of cities for many reasons (most eloquently described by Ed Glaeser), rural livelihoods take on a particular importance in the Bosnian case. Why should there be a focus on rural livelihoods in Bosnia?

Mobilniji nego što izgleda na prvi pogled

Iako je u proteklih 20 godina stalnih 60 posto stanovništva klasificirano kao ruralno, oni su mobilniji nego što to izgleda na prvi pogled. Dok su u periodu između 1991. i 2013. opštine sa veoma niskom stopom naseljenosti (manje od 50 ljudi po kvadratnom kilometru) zaista opale, opštine sa srednjom gustinom naseljenosti (50 do 100 ljudi po kvadratnom kilometru), i dalje klasificirane kao ruralne, porasle su i u apsolutnom pojmu i po broju stanovnika. Prihvatile su ljude iz veoma malih naselja kao i iz gusto naseljenih gradskih centara. Nedavna studija potvrđuje ova otkrića i pokazuje slične uzorke u nekoliko drugih evropskih zemalja. Što je najvidljivije, promjene osvjetljenosti u vrijeme noći pokazuju da su mnoga ruralna područja u Bosni postala mračnija između 1996. i 2010, dok su prigradska postala osvjetljenija.

I ne izgleda da ruralnom stanovništvu ide loše na druge načine. Unutar 3 kilometra od njihovih domova pola njih imaju ambulantu i osnovnu školu, a trećina može doći do poštanskih ureda. Četvrtina ima prodavnicu unutar 100 metara. To većini ruralnih Bosanaca pruža bolji pristup servisnim službama nego kad sam ja odrastao u mom rodnom selu. Isti pregled pokazao je da ruralne i urbane familije imaju sličnu stopu vakcinacije djece, dječijih bolesti, pohađanja srednjih škola, pismenosti i pristup vodi za piće. Neishranjenost djece je neznatno niža u ruralnim nego u urbanim područjima. Ruralno stanovništvo smatra da ima više prednosti - hrana, okolina i zdravlje - od onih koji žive u gradu, te smatraju boljim život na selu. Administrativni podaci iz Republike Srpske čak pokazuju da su ruralne plate samo 9 procenata niže od urbanih u 2012. (a taj jaz je opao sa 12 posto u 2007). A tu je problem.

More mobile than it first seems

Even though a constant 60 percent of the population have been classified as rural for the last 20 years, they are more mobile that it first seems. While municipalities with very low population densities (fewer than 50 persons per square kilometer) did indeed shrink between 1991 and 2013, medium-density municipalities (50 to 100 persons per square kilometer), which are still classified as rural, grew in size, both in absolute terms and as a share of the population. They absorbed people from the very small settlements and also from dense city centers. A recent study confirms these findings and reveal similar patterns in several other European countries. Most visibly, change in night-time lights show that many rural areas in Bosnia grew darker between 1996 and 2010, while suburban and peri-urban areas grew brighter.

And rural dwellers don’t seem to be doing badly in other ways. Within 3 km of their homes half of rural Bosnians have a clinic and a primary school, and a third can reach a post office. A quarter have a shop within just 100 meters. That gives most rural Bosnians much better access to services than I had growing up in my home village. The same survey found that rural and urban families have similar rates of child vaccinations, child sickness, secondary school attendance, literacy, and access to drinking water. Child malnutrition was even slightly lower in rural areas than in urban ones. Rural dwellers perceive themselves as having several advantages over urban ones; the food, environment, and health are all considered by rural dwellers to be better in the countryside. Administrative data from the Republika Srpska even suggests that rural wages were only 9 percent lower than urban wages in 2012 (and the gap narrowed from 12 percent in 2007). And there’s the rub.

Gradovi nisu tako dobri

Iako je stopa ruralnog siromaštva viša, njihov prihod niži i zaposlenost nešto manja, oni ne žele da traže ulice popločane zlatom u bosanskim gradovima. Razuman kvalitet života u ruralnim područjima u kombinaciji sa izazovima urbanog života zadržava ljude u ruralnim područjima. Ruralna domaćinstva imaju umjeren (iako popravljiv) pristup servisnim službama i imaju bolju hranu, okolinu i zdravlje nego urbani stanovnici. Odlazak u grad gdje je visoka stopa nezaposlenosti, niske plate i sa uvjerenjem da su za dobijanje posla važne veze vjerovatno za mnoge ruralne stanovnike nije vrijedan rizika.

Uz to, mnogi od njih će se suočiti sa istim ograničenjima kao i na selu. Analiza Svjetske banke pokazuje da se pola jaza ruralno-urbanog siromaštva može objasniti razlikama u obrazovanju. Ali slabo obrazovani ruralni stanovnici će imati malo opcija u gradovima. Druga jedna petina ruralno-urbanog jaza siromaštva dolazi kao rezultat prosječno bronijih familija na selu ali i velike familije u gradovima mogu da budu isto tako siromašne.

I bez faktora ‘gurni’ ili ‘povuci’ da bi se ruralni Bosanci potakli da se urbaniziraju, malo čudi što se ruralno stanovništvo ne pomjera proteklih 20 godina. Oni koji se urbaniziraju više vole da krenu u gradove u Austriji ili Njemačkoj gdje su barem faktori ‘gurni’ jači nego u Bosni.

Cities ain’t so good

Even though the rural poverty rate is higher, rural income lower, and employment somewhat lower, rural folk still don’t want to search for streets paved with gold in Bosnia’s cities. A reasonable quality of life in rural areas combined with the challenges of urban life keep people in rural areas. Rural households have reasonable (if improvable) access to services, some have an “agricultural safety net,” receive relatively high social protection payments, and have better food, environment, and health than urban dwellers. Moving to a city with high unemployment, low wages, and a belief that connections are important to obtain jobs is probably not worth the risk for many rural dwellers.

In addition, many rural people would face the same constraints in Bosnian cities as they do in the countryside. World Bank analysis suggests that half of the rural-urban poverty gap can be explained by educational differences. But poorly educated rural dwellers would also have very few options in the cities. Another one-fifth of the rural-urban poverty gap comes as a result of larger average family size in the countryside and large families in cities are also more likely to be poor.

With neither the “push” nor “pull” factors to encourage rural Bosnians to urbanize, it is little wonder the rural population has remained stagnant over the last 20 years. Those who do urbanize prefer to leave for cities in Austria or Germany, where at least the pull factors are stronger than in Bosnia.

Simon Davies Senior Economist, World Bank

Simon Davies Senior Economist, World Bank

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