The populations of major Hungarian cities have been shrinking while those of the urban agglomerations around them are expanding. The migration out of Budapest and the major urban areas known in Hungary as county seats and into the agglomerations surrounding them is accelerating.
Although agglomeration and rural life have many advantages, in terms of national economy, competitiveness and environmental protection there are more arguments in favour of expanding and developing metropolitan centres. Well-functioning metropolitan centres are more sustainable, scale-efficient, and better able to exploit the intellectual and innovation capacities of employees than agglomerations. Compared to small agglomerations, people living in metropolitan areas have easier access to essential health, education, and social services, so well-organised metropolitan areas are also better for social mobility. The three main causes of urban sprawl are housing costs, factors determining the quality of life (the need for more green space and cleaner air, level of infrastructure), and travel costs. Thus, the policy interventions should also take these factors into account.