A region's competitiveness and future performance is determined by its capacity to retain its population. Th is capacity on the other hand influences the structure of the region's labour market both qualitatively and quantitatively. Th us, improving the attractiveness of the region, retaining the population, as well as off ering incentives for its inhabitants not to migrate become primordial objectives of economic and regional policies. According to international studies changes in the structure of economies, as well as the growth of the service sector have led to an increase of the share of women in total employment. Of course, growing female employment has been strongly related to migration. In the peripheral and mostly underdeveloped rural regions of Europe traditional male economic subsectors have maintained their dominant role.
This may have contributed to the gender selective nature of migration: as a reaction to the lack of employment opportunities in the home country young women have become more likely to migrate, creating thus a numerical male dominance in the younger generations in the sending societies. In our paper we study fi ve regions of the European Union [(Saxony-Anhalt (Germany), Kainuu (Finnland), Västernorrland (Sweeden), North-Great-Plain and North-Hungary (Hungary)] in order to explore the reasons and consequences of female migration, to identify the needs and expectations of young men and women living in the rural areas, and finally, to analyse the relationship between the unbalanced gender ratio in the young adult generations and economic development.

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