What Happens When Data Lies? A Case Study of Measuring City Attractiveness in Romania

  • Alina Maria Pavelea Babeș-Bolyai University, Faculty of Political, Administrative and Communication Sciences
  • Bogdana Neamțu Babeș-Bolyai University, Faculty of Political, Administrative and Communication Sciences
  • Călin Emilian Hințea Babeș-Bolyai University, Faculty of Political, Administrative and Communication Sciences
Keywords: city attractiveness, Romania, population growth, data reliability


The last decades have seen an increse in the number of studies that investigate the factors that make cities attractive. This was also the initial aim of the present study. However, the initial results were striking. Cities that do not possess the characteristics that are usually attributed to attractive cities were ranked among the most attractive ones in Romania. Thus, it became evident that the first step should be to determine which is the most appropriate measure of attractiveness in the Romanian context. The results show that in Romania the historical and legal context, as well as the current way in which official data are provided affect the reliability of well-known measures of city attractiveness. More specifically, international migrants who regain their citizenship artificially inflate the data regarding population growth and migration for cities in the Easter part of the country. The study provides recommendations for improving the capacity of municipalities to take evidence-based decisions.


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