Balance after 30 years: four million people moved from east to west


Status: 03/28/2021 12:26 p.m.

Recently, the new federal states have repeatedly attracted more people than they lost. Nevertheless, after 30 years, the balance sheet remains clear: Many more people have gone to the West than came from there.

At the beginning of the 1990s the trend was very clear: the number of people moving from east to west skyrocketed after the fall of the wall. There were more than 165,000 in 1991 alone. The trend then slowly decreased in the mid-1990s. The numbers have only been relatively balanced since 2012. In total, around 1.23 million more people have moved from East to West Germany than the other way around in the past 30 years.

This emerges from a response from the Federal Ministry of the Interior to a request from the left in the Bundestag, which the dpa news agency has received. According to the paper, 3.86 million people moved from the new federal states to western Germany. The largest group was made up of the 18 to under 30-year-olds. By contrast, 2.63 million people moved from west to east.

The trend reversed for the first time six years ago

In 2014, the trend reversed for the first time in an eastern country: In Saxony, where migration losses were particularly high in some cases, the bottom line was that around 1,800 people were added as a result of migration between eastern and western Germany. In the years that followed, there were both positive and negative migration effects, depending on the new federal state.

In 2019 there was an increase of around 1000 for the new federal states: more immigration in Saxony, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Brandenburg more than compensated for the vast majority of emigration from Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt. It is the most recent year listed in the current values ​​of the Federal Statistical Office.

Promote other living conditions

Left MP Sabine Zimmermann, who had asked for the numbers, blamed unequal living conditions for the emigration from the East. “Many East Germans have turned their backs on their homeland to escape unemployment and low wages,” she said. The depopulation of regions goes hand in hand with the dismantling of social and cultural infrastructure in many cities and communities. Emigration will continue to be encouraged.

Company locations are now increasingly being closed again – such as the recent Haribo plant in Wilkau-Haßlau in Saxony. Zimmermann called for the collective bargaining agreement to be strengthened, equal pay in East and West and an increase in the minimum wage.

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Balance years million people moved east west


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