Assessment of the socio-economic performance of vulnerable and depressed territories in Kazakhstan

Anel A. Kireyeva, Nailya K. Nurlanova, Anna A. Kredina


Relevance. In Kazakhstan, regional disparities present a major challenge to national development. The COVID-19 pandemic and the recent political turmoil exacerbated this situation because smaller towns and settlements in less accessible regions lack the resources to cope with the consequences of the crisis on their own.

Research objective. The study aims to propose a methodological approach to assessing the socio-economic performance of vulnerable and depressed territories.

Data and methods. The methodological approach is developed taking into account the specifics and peculiarities of territorial development, as well as the availability of statistical information in small towns and settlements. The depressiveness and vulnerability ranking were compiled for monotowns and small towns in Kazakhstan. The study relies on the statistical data provided by the Agency for Strategic Planning and Reforms of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Results. The proposed methodology was applied to analyze the aggregate indicators characterizing the socio-economic performance of towns and settlements in East Kazakhstan, North Kazakhstan, and Zhambyl regions between 2009 and 2019. The towns of Ridder, Semey, Mamlyutka, Sergeevka, Karatau, and Janatas were classified as severely depressed areas. The same towns and the town of Bulaev demonstrated the highest levels of vulnerability.

Conclusions. The research findings may be of interest to government agencies of all levels. The methodology can be used for assessing the socio-economic performance of lagging areas for more informed decision- and policy-making.


region, regional economy, vulnerability, depressed areas, territories, monotowns, small towns, Kazakhstan

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