Edyta Bombiak, Adam Marcysiak


Human capital is an economic category which is increasingly applied in the models of economic growth and development. Many studies have demonstrated its positive effect on economic development at the national and regional levels. The level of development of rural areas is also strongly correlated with the human factor. The objective of the study was to carry out a quantitative and qualitative diagnosis of the situation of human capital across rural areas in Poland and to indicate the main challenges associated with the shaping of this capital in the context of economic growth simulation. The method used to meet the objective was a review of source literature and an analysis of statistical data from the Central Statistical Office (GUS) with the application of dynamics and structure indices. In the course of research, it was established that the main trends affecting the situation of human resource capital across rural areas in Poland are: the ageing of the rural population, as a dominant negative trend, and a systematic, though slow, increase in the level of education, as a dominant positive trend. It was determined that unfavorable demographic transformations of rural communities involve the risk of limiting economic activities of the elderly, and at the same time, also a decrease in their economic independence and an increase in the social burden resulting therefrom. On the other hand, the observed rise in the level of education and economic activity may accelerate the beneficial transformations of the area structure of agricultural farms, for it contributes to the acceleration of migration of the rural population to other, non-agricultural professions. In this context, taking actions, both nationally and regionally, aiming at increasing qualifications of rural (including agricultural) populations constitutes a vital opportunity, which increases intellectual potential and competitiveness across the country and its individual regions.

Keywords: human capital, rural areas, economic development

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