Millions of people migrating from east to west | Free press


In the past few years the new federal states have succeeded time and again in attracting more people than they have lost. Nevertheless, the balance sheet for the East remains clear.

Berlin (dpa) – In the past 30 years, around 1.23 million more people have moved from East to West Germany than the other way around. This emerges from a response from the Federal Ministry of the Interior to a request from the left in the Bundestag, available to the German Press Agency.

3.86 million people moved from the new federal states to western Germany. The largest group was made up of 1.78 million people aged 18 to under 30. 2.63 million people moved from west to east. The current statistics show the values ​​from 1991 to 2019.

Most of the people emigrated to the old federal states in the first few years after reunification. In 1991 there was a migration loss of around 165,000 for the five new federal states. In the following year, a good 90,000 more people moved from east to west than vice versa. In the years that followed, emigration initially decreased. From 1997 the numbers rose again for a few years. In 2001, the bottom line was just under 98,000 people who lost the East.

Then the numbers went down again with fluctuations. 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 offset 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.

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 told the dpa. 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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