In a Nordic setting regional demographic characteristics are important to emphasise the demographic differences between the countries, both in relation to the national characteristics and especially in relation to the northern sparsely populated areas. The national numbers show some general differences between countries, but hide the fact that rural areas and especially the more northern regions differ markedly from the general patterns. Foss and Juvkam pointed out that, although one of the problems causing a difficult demographic situation in Nordic peripheries has been a declining fertility rate, the major cause has been the out-migration of relatively young persons. Regional gender differences have been a characteristic of the sparsely populated regions which has existed for several decades, but has evolved further over the last 10-15 years due to the higher out-migration of women from rural areas. A key element in the concept of 'Knowledge Economy' is per definition the attainment of knowledge.