The Ph.D. thesis consists of an introduction and five empirical articles. The purpose of the thesis is to analyze a number of contemporary issues related to rural development in Denmark. The background is a number of increasing challenges in the Danish rural areas in recent decades, such as depopulation, loss of work places and loss of public services.
The three first articles are concerned with factors of demographic change, rural-urban migration and rural settlement in Denmark. The two last articles consider social capital and its potentials for rural development. The prime data sources were a questionnaire survey among Danish rural and urban citizens and the Danish Values Surveys.
Overall, the thesis points to challenges as well as opportunities for rural areas in Denmark. On the positive side, a rural in-migration potential was found, and rural dwellers seemed open towards health care services based on ICT technologies (telehealth). Moreover, social capital was found to be higher in rural areas, and social capital could be identified as a tool for promoting socio-cultural welfare. On the negative side, child families were found to be the most likely out-migrants if health care services are reduced in rural areas. Finally, no evidence was found to suggest that social capital is directly economically productive in rural areas.