Has hiking got worse

Domestic migrations in Germany - who wins and who loses?


The current debate about the future viability of cities is very much dominated by immigration from abroad. Domestic migration trends are currently "masked" by these, however, which can lead to misinterpretations when looking at municipal migration balances. In the following study, the current phenomenon of foreign immigration is therefore ignored and the focus is on domestic migration trends.

An isolated analysis of domestic migratory movements shows that the migration balances of the large cities have developed negatively in recent years. However, there are major regional differences: While many prosperous cities recorded a sharp decline in net migration between 2008 and 2014 and some even lost residents to the districts in recent years, there are deviations in the region of Central Germany and in parts of North Rhine-Westphalia Identify developments. This points to economically induced displacement processes in large cities with a very tight housing market. Apparently it is becoming more and more difficult, especially for households in the property formation and family formation phase in large cities with sharply rising rental and purchase prices, to fulfill their living wishes and moving to the cheaper surrounding area is gaining in importance as an alternative. The fact that large cities are still very attractive as residential locations is shown by the continued strong domestic migration gains in those large cities that (currently) have relatively relaxed housing markets. It can be assumed that a decline in foreign immigration will reduce the pressure on the metropolitan real estate markets somewhat, which could have negative effects, above all on the current winners of the displacement processes - the suburban and rural municipalities in the vicinity of the large cities.


The current debate on urban sustainability is dominated by the strong foreign migration. In the last years this migration “overshadowed” the domestic migration trends, which can lead to misinterpretation when analyzing migration balance data. Therefore the following analysis fades out the current phenomenon of foreign immigration and focuses on domestic migration trends.

When doing this, the statistics shows us that the domestic migration balances of the big cities have declined markedly in recent years. Albeit there are large regional differences: while a deterioration in the domestic migration balances took place in many fast growing cities between 2008–2013 and some of these cities even lost residents to the surrounding municipalities in recent years, an opposite development can be observed in the region of Central Germany and in parts of North Rhine-Westphalia. This indicates economically-induced displacement processes in large cities with a tensed housing market. It seems to get more and more difficult apparently for households which are thinking about an acquisition of house property or about starting a family to satisfy their housing requirements in cities with a tensed housing market - so they are forced to relocate in regions with lower house prices . On the other hand the continued strong domestic migration gains of those big cities, with (still) have relatively relaxed housing markets, shows the sustained attractiveness of city-life for many people. It is assumed that the pressure on the metropolitan real estate markets will diminish, when foreign immigration will decline. This could have negative effects especially for the current winners of the displacement processes - the suburban and rural municipalities surrounding the large cities.

Internal migration balance as an indicator for the spatial and housing market observation

Migration has a much stronger influence on the changes in the population of a region than the natural population movements that result from births and deaths (Birg 2013). The migration balance of a municipality and its development provide important information about its attractiveness and future viability and are of great importance as indicators for the investigation of spatial development prospects and for monitoring the housing market. Both external and internal migration are therefore used, among other things, for the trend calculations of regional planning forecasts and the housing and real estate market observation of the Federal Institute for Building, Urban and Spatial Research (BBSR) as important key figures and variables (BBSR 2015, 2010; Milbert 2015 ).

Due to the state-controlled distribution of immigrants (keyword “Königsteiner Key”) and their particular location preferences, the strong foreign immigration observed currently covers the informative value of the general figures on migration at the municipal level. The effects of foreign migration lie like a “veil” over the actual internal development and can lead to incorrect conclusions when investigating the attractiveness and future viability of locations. For this reason, in the following study, looking at the internal migration balances in isolation, we will focus on how the municipalities are positioned in the domestic competition for residents.

The sole consideration of internal migration has so far mostly been carried out in the context of special questions such as the investigation of migration from the city to the surrounding area (Münter 2012; Hirschle and Schürt 2008), the migration behavior of highly qualified people (Deschermeier and Müller 2012), and age- or gender-specific migration behavior (Friedrich 2008 ; Milbert et al. 2013) or the development of sub-spaces, e.g. B. East Germany (Ragnitz 2013). Schlömer (2009), Herfert and Osterhage (2012) and Sander (2014) also discussed the internal migration movements in Germany in the 1990s and 2000s in detail, including differentiated considerations of age groups and migration distances. However, there is a lack of current evaluations of the internal migration balances for the districts and urban districts that analyze developments in recent years. As part of the following study, these evaluations were carried out for the years 2008–2014 with the aim of being able to give an assessment of the attractiveness of places to live and live in, detached from the temporary distortion caused by foreign immigration.

Methodology of the investigation

For the investigation, the data from the official migration statistics (statistics of spatial population movement) from the years 2008 to 2014 were evaluated. The foreign-related immigration and emigration were excluded from the general information provided by the Federal and State Statistical Offices on annual immigration and emigration in the districts and urban districts, thus determining the internal migration balances. The development of foreign migration and domestic migration can thus be viewed separately. For the time series investigation, the districts and urban districts were assigned to the settlement structure area types used by the BBSR in the context of ongoing spatial observation. In order to better compare the changes in the differently populated area types, the migration balances were compared to the number of inhabitants (balance per 1000 inhabitants).

In addition to the general consideration of domestic immigration and emigration, evaluations were carried out differentiated according to age groups. In addition, a distinction was made between local and long-distance migration within Germany. For this purpose, the information on the migration movements between the individual districts and urban districts from the district migration matrix was combined with the distance data of a distance matrix and analyzed. The district migration matrix 2014 was obtained from the statistical offices of the federal and state governments. The required distance matrix could be determined with the help of the Eurostat NUTS 3 geodata (Shapefiles) by calculating the linear distances between the centers of the area delimitation polygons of all German districts and urban districts. Since there is no uniform information on the distance-related delimitation between regional (local) migration and supra or interregional (long-distance) migration in the literature (Siedentop et al. 2014; Dittrich-Wesbuer and Osterhage 2008; Betz 1988; Schlömer 2009), In this study, two common distance limits (100 and 150 km) are considered in parallel.

It should be noted that due to the reorganization of the districts and independent cities in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania as part of the district reform 2011, an adjustment of the data from the period before 2011 had to be carried out. Since in most cases there was only a merging of districts or urban districts and only in individual cases an assignment of an old district area to several new district areas, the inaccuracies due to the adjustment are kept within narrow, tolerable limits.

The development of migration balances in the municipalities

For several years now, many municipalities that previously complained of shrinking have seen an increase in the number of inhabitants. A number of districts and urban districts that were confronted with a tendency to emigrate just a few years ago are currently registering enormous influx of new residents again (see Fig. 1). Problems such as housing market bottlenecks and z. As a result, property prices, some of which are rising sharply, are more acute in many regions than they have been for a long time (BMUB 2015).

If you look at the development of the annual net migration per 1000 inhabitants in the districts and urban districts, you can see a clear improvement in all types of areas. Fig. 2 shows the migration balance per 1000 inhabitants differentiated for different types of settlement structures.

Since 2011 and 2012, the rural districts with densification approaches and the sparsely populated rural districts have again been characterized by positive migration balances - calculated across all municipalities of this type - but the largest increases in inhabitants are still recorded in the large cities.

Migration gains in many municipalities due to high levels of immigration from abroad

At the same time, major changes were observed in external migration. After Germany still had a negative external migration balance in 2008 and 2009, there has been a sharp increase in immigration from abroad since 2010.Footnote 1 In particular, the financial and economic crisis, which led to high unemployment, especially in the southern countries of Europe, the beginning of the free movement of workers for Romania and Bulgaria as well as new crises in the Middle East and other parts of the world were the triggers for the positive net migration since 2010 with other countries got bigger and bigger over the years. Fig. 3 shows that the external migration balance has risen sharply for all settlement structure area types since 2009, whereby the increase in migration gains with foreign countries was much more pronounced in the large cities than in the districts.

The strong immigration from abroad is currently a decisive driver for the development of the population and the migration balance in the municipalities. However, since foreign immigration does not have the same effect on all types of area but is strongly geared towards the big cities for various reasons - in particular the easier entry into the labor market and the existing social and ethnic networks in the metropolitan areas (Henger 2014; Häußermann and Oswald 1996) - it is influenced currently to a large extent the internal German growth and contraction processes at the communal level. In addition, the state-controlled spatial distribution of asylum seekers currently has a major impact on the development of municipal migration balances.

Focus on migrations within Germany

The high level of foreign immigration is a phenomenon that will certainly continue for a few years. However, the cyclical development of the external migration balance in the past makes a simple extrapolation of trends into the future seem to be of little use (Brenke and Neubecker 2013; Folkerts-Landau 2014). Rather, it is important to also closely monitor the other (domestic) migration trends in order to be able to estimate future developments in the spatial distribution of the population for the period after the end of the current migration cycle. For this reason, the following studies will exclude external migration and focus on the analysis of domestic migration trends.

Fig. 4 shows the development of the internal migration balance, i.e. the balance of internal German migration between the municipalities, differentiated according to the type of settlement structure. The big cities have profited from domestic migration in recent years, but a continuous decline in migration gains can be observed, and smaller cities have even suffered migration losses since 2013. This is a “new” development that is currently practically “under the radar” because it is being masked by foreign immigration.

On the other hand, there is a steadily growing decline in negative net migration among the districts. The sparsely populated rural districts have even been characterized by a positive domestic migration balance since 2013 and in 2014 they are the area type with the greatest increase in internal migration. The urban districts and the rural districts with approaches to densification also showed internal migration gains in 2014 for the first time in a long time. If only the domestic migratory movements are considered, the end of the reurbanization trend and the beginning of a sub- or de-urbanization phase can be seen.

The development shown indicates a trend reversal. But how sustainable is the current positive population development in the individual area types and what are their drivers? In order to pursue these questions further, the domestic migratory movements are examined below, differentiated according to age groups, nationality and migration distance.

Migration balances differentiated according to age groups

When looking at internal migration differentiated according to age group, the well-known phenomenon that has been observed for a long time is that large cities show strong migration gains compared to rural areas among the 18–24 year olds, i.e. that they benefit greatly from educational migration. Young people move from the more rural regions to the big cities in order to start an apprenticeship here and, above all, to study here. In the age group of 25–29 year olds, professional motives - moving after starting their first job - are an important reason for migration. Large cities with their highly differentiated labor markets are also very attractive for this age group (Schlömer 2009).

The big cities, on the other hand, are losing residents from the age group of 30–49 year olds as well as minors (0–18 year olds) to the districts. The main reasons for people from these age groups to migrate are starting a family and the associated search for larger, more child-friendly living space as well as the acquisition of affordable residential property (Schlömer 2004). The rural areas also benefit slightly from the significantly more manageable migration of the “50+” age groups compared to the big cities and - contrary to popular opinion - there is no increase in the attractiveness of the big cities for this age group. On the contrary: the winners here are also the rural areas.

When comparing the age group-specific migration balances in 2008 and 2014 (see Fig. 5), it is particularly noticeable that the losses in large cities have increased significantly among residents of the 30-49 age group. While the migration loss in 2008 was still quite low at minus 18,518 people, in 2014 it increased by 3.3 times to minus 61,070 people. In return, the districts were able to significantly increase the migration gains in this age group.

Fig. 6 summarizes the internal migration balances of the “30+” age groups, including the age group of minors, and shows the development of the balances for these age groups. This shows that the population losses in large cities compared to districts or rural municipalities have increased continuously since 2008. While the migration losses in large cities (> 500,000 inhabitants) have more than doubled (from −24,459 to −57,280), especially in sparsely populated rural districts, there is a strong increase in migration gains of more than five times (from +7397 to +41.209) recorded.

The expansion of the migration losses among the over 30s in cities like Munich or Hamburg means that the migration gains among 18 to 30-year-olds can no longer compensate for these migration losses, which results in a negative internal migration balance (see Fig. 7 ).

The migration movements of German citizens

Since there has been a large number of domestic migrations in recent years, which can be traced back to the distribution of refugees from municipalities with central initial reception facilities to other municipalities and thus to the foreign immigration deliberately excluded here, the internal migration balance of German nationals (non-foreigners ) considered separately. This makes it possible to exclude the internal German migratory movements of the newly arrived refugees. However, migrations by all foreigners who have been living in Germany for a long time are also excluded. The municipal balances for domestic migration of German citizens in 2008 and 2014 as well as the change in balances since 2002 are shown in Fig. 8.

When examining the migration movements of German citizens, especially in the metropolises of Berlin, Munich and Hamburg, it becomes clear that in 2008 a typical reurbanization situation according to the cyclical urban development model by van den Berg et al. (1982, 1987, p. 88) was given: The big cities were able to record strong migration gains among Germans, with increasing distance from the big city, the migration gains decreased and turned into migration losses. Most of the other large cities in Germany also showed significant migration gains in this group in 2008 - migration losses among non-foreigners were only observed in a few large cities in the Ruhr area and in eastern Germany. At this time, a negative trend in net migration was also noticeable in almost all rural districts located on the periphery.

In 2014 a completely different picture emerged: between 2008 and 2014, a transition into a phase of suburbanization took place in a number of large cities, although the progress made in the cities at different stages. In 2014, Berlin was still characterized by the migration gains of German citizens, but this has decreased significantly since 2008. At the same time, the migration gains in the surrounding areas have risen and are now at a similarly high level as in the capital. In Hamburg, the migration gains ascertained in 2008 have meanwhile turned into migration losses, while the migration gains in the surrounding communities have increased. In Munich, too, the migration gains have turned into significant migration losses over the past few years, while most of the districts around Munich are still recording migration gains, which have declined since 2008. The negative development of the migration balance in relation to non-foreigners in the entire Munich metropolitan area already indicates a transition into a phase of deurbanization. The decline in negative net migration in many rural districts can also be seen as an indication of an incipient phase of deurbanization. According to van den Berg et al. (1987) begins a phase of deurbanization with relative decentralization - this can currently be observed in the Munich region. However, the picture is not clear, because in the region of Central Germany (Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia), but also sporadically in the Ruhr area, there are still large cities in which the internal migration balances of German nationals in the period under review 2008-2014 were partly have improved significantly.

Different developments in the regions

The clear regional differences with regard to the development of the internal migration balance can be seen in Fig. 9. This shows the development of the internal migration balance of German citizens per 1000 inhabitants for large cities differentiated according to federal states or regions.

It can be seen here that between 2008 and 2014, especially in northern and southern Germany - and particularly strongly in Bavaria - the balance of large cities in terms of domestic migration of German citizens deteriorated significantly.

While there has been a deterioration in net migration since 2008 in the northern German and Bavarian cities, the positive net migration rose in other regions (e.g. Baden Württemberg) until 2011 and has only developed significantly negative since 2012. In the meantime, losses in internal migration among German citizens can be observed in large cities in all western German regions.

In the east German cities, internal migration gains can still be seen for this group, although these have also been declining here since 2011 at the latest. While the internal migration gains of the large cities in the Berlin, Brandenburg, and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania region have declined very significantly in recent years, only a slow decline in the pronounced migration gains among German citizens can be observed in the large cities of the Central Germany region.

Another trend can be observed in the large cities of the Ruhr area. Here, the internal migration losses among German nationals have slowly but steadily decreased since 2008.

Displacement processes due to tense real estate markets in many large cities

Both pull and push factors are fundamentally possible reasons for the development identified (Lee 1966). A pull factor that could explain the migration gains of some rural districts would, for example, be the improvement of the educational offer in rural areas through the establishment of new (partly private) universities (see e.g. MfWFT 2010). On the other hand, the sharp rise in real estate prices in both the rental and property market in a large city, which makes it increasingly difficult for households with lower incomes and young families to meet their housing needs in this city, is a typical push factor the spatially differentiated consideration of the development of the internal migration balance, but also when considering the domestic migratory movements of German citizens, developments can be observed that indicate that push factors are primarily responsible for the identified trend:

It is noticeable that in the large cities in southern Germany as well as Berlin and Hamburg, which are characterized by particularly tense housing markets, there has been a clearly negative development in the domestic migration balance in recent years, while in cities with more relaxed housing markets such as the cities in the Ruhr area or the large cities of central Germany, one such a negative development is not discernible. This indicates a connection between the development of the internal migration balance and the development of the housing market.

Fig. 10 compares the development of asking prices for apartments over the last five years with the change in net migration of German citizens between 2008–2014 in major cities.Footnote 2 Although there are numerous outliers, a connection between the development of real estate prices and the development of net migration can be seen. Wolfsburg is not only the city with the highest increase in purchase prices for apartments in the period under review, but also the city with the greatest decline in the net migration of German nationals. And in this comparison of cities, Chemnitz is not only the only city in this comparison with a negative development in housing prices, but also with the strongest increase in net migration.

This indicates that the migration losses in large cities during internal migration are not due to a general loss of attractiveness of the cities, but to an increasing shortage of “affordable” housing offers in the growth regions. In the very dynamically growing cities, the tight housing market is causing certain groups of residents to leave the big cities and move to cheaper housing market regions in the surrounding area.

Large cities became more attractive in the 2000s for a variety of reasons (see e.g. Siedentop 2008; Hesse 2010; BBSR 2012). However, due to the ongoing attractiveness and the foreign immigration that has been observed for a number of years, which has been strongly geared towards large cities, in a phase of general population increase in Germany, cities are less and less able to cope with the strong demand for living space by allocating new residential building space to what is only very limited Plots (many military and infrastructural conversion areas have meanwhile been built on) to be satisfied. This sets in motion a process that can be easily explained with the help of the land use theory of Alonso (1960). The growing demand and increasing competition for use for the limited living space in the city mean that users outbid each other for central locations (rent-outs) and price-sensitive users and users with less affinity for centers cannot or do not want to realize their living wishes in the cities and in more peripheral locations evade in the surrounding area.

This is a development that could already be observed in Germany in the first half of the 1990s. Hirschle and Schürt (2008) found that in the period after German reunification in dynamically growing urban regions with a tight housing market there was a significantly more pronounced suburbanization than in cities with a relaxed housing market. They cite the large rental price range between the core city and the surrounding area as an important reason for suburbanization in growing urban regions (ibid., P. 223). Hallenberg (2002), too, when examining the surrounding area migrations in the 1980s and 1990s, comes to the conclusion that the housing market is to be regarded as "the primary explanatory model for the extent and direction of the surrounding area migration" (ibid., P. 138).

In this context, it should be mentioned that the tendencies towards suburbanization and de-urbanization are currently not limited to the resident population, but can also be observed in the employment trend: Between 2014 and 2015, the number of employees in rural areas rose more sharply than in the big citiesFootnote 3.

For a more detailed investigation of possible suburbanization and de-urbanization processes, the migrations are analyzed in the following, differentiated according to their migration distance.

Regional and national hikes

If one explicitly considers the intra-German migration balances of the regional migrationFootnote 4 (see Fig. 11) shows that in addition to a large number of districts, the large cities of Leipzig and Dresden and several large cities in North Rhine-Westphalia are characterized by migration gains in small-scale, regional migration. The big cities there, unlike the southern German cities as well as Berlin and Hamburg, attract residents from the regional area to a considerable extent.Footnote 5 This indicates that the big cities continue to be very attractive, but there are limits to this due to the housing market bottlenecks in the structurally strong cities.

In addition to the push factors, pull factors also seem to play a role, as indicated, for example, by the above-average migration gains in sparsely populated rural areas in the age group of over 30s (and those under 18) (see Fig. 6). In addition to many sparsely populated districts in the vicinity of large cities (e.g. Oberhavel district or Lüneburg district), a number of districts far from metropolitan areas such as the Emsland district also show positive internal migration balances.

The observation of long-distance migrations within Germany also proves to be interesting here (see Fig. 12). First of all, it should be noted that 43% of long-distance migration gainsFootnote 6 Divided into four cities in 2014: the three largest German cities Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Leipzig. These cities act as large "magnets" that draw residents from almost all parts of the country. In addition, a number of smaller cities and rural communities in northern (especially in northwestern Germany) and in southern Germany are among the winners of these intra-German long-distance migrations. Rural regions on the coast and in the foothills of the Alps (e.g. Vorpommern-Rügen district, Lörrach district) certainly benefit greatly from the migration movements of the 50+ generation through their scenic charms and their quality of relaxation.

On the other hand, in a wide swathe that runs through the middle of Germany from East Germany (with the exception of the Berlin and Leipzig environs and the coastal region) via Hesse to North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, the Saarland and parts of Baden-Württemberg, mostly to find municipalities with a negative long-distance migration balanceFootnote 7. In North Rhine-Westphalia in particular, there are strong domestic long-distance migration losses. Almost a third (31%) of the long-distance migration losses in 2014 were attributable to NRW municipalities. When it comes to long-distance hikes, in addition to the leisure and relaxation-oriented reasons of the 50+ generation, professional reasons play an important role as motives for migration. The strong supra-regional migration losses of many municipalities in central Germany, especially the North Rhine-Westphalian municipalities, therefore point to serious economic structural problems and a general lack of attractiveness in these regions.

Effects on spatial development

In summary, it can be said that there is no longer a trend towards reurbanisation of domestic migrations. In many cities there is a clear deterioration in the domestic migration balance. A number of cities even recorded considerable migration losses in 2014. For these large cities there is a risk that the sharp rise in rental and purchase prices for real estate will have a negative impact on future economic development and become a location disadvantage that should not be underestimated (Spars et al. 2009, p. 5 f.). For companies based in the cities, the increasingly limited opportunities to realize their dreams of living (unaffordable property acquisition, hardly any housing offers in attractive locations) can lead to problems in recruiting new employees and retaining existing ones.

In the rural districts, on the other hand, domestic migration balances have improved significantly in recent years. In addition to numerous districts in the vicinity of large cities, especially in north-east and south-west Germany, numerous peripheral, rural municipalities with their own competitive economic structure or with special scenic attractions have shown a positive domestic migration balance in recent years (for the connection between the labor market and long-distance migration, see e.g. . B. Schlömer 2009, p. 122 ff.). In addition, there are still a number of mostly rural municipalities, especially in eastern Germany, which have recorded a decline in the number of inhabitants despite the current increase in the total population. In many of these shrinking municipalities, a decline in negative net migration has been observed in recent years, but in many cases this is due to the fact that large parts of the young, mobile residents have already left the municipalities (Neu 2012).

Overall, however, the general population growth triggered by the strong foreign immigration as well as the currently ascertainable internal migration gains in rural areas (see Fig. 4) have a positive effect on the spatial planning goal of "equivalence of living conditions", since the possibilities for maintaining the supply infrastructure are in rural areas Improved space through the (temporary) decline in "rural exodus".

What happens if the high level of foreign immigration decreases again at some point?

If the currently observed strong immigration from abroad declines in the future, it is initially to be expected that the displacement processes in the big cities will decrease, which would be associated with lower "spill over effects" and a decrease in positive migration balances in the surrounding municipalities. The negative development of the domestic migration balance currently observed in the big cities seems to be due to push factors - mainly due to the real estate market - and not to a loss of attractiveness of living in big cities. Against this background, however, the sustainability of the current, often very positive, population development must be questioned, especially in suburban areas.

Experience to date on the development of migratory flows under shrinking conditions (see e.g. Hirschle and Schürt 2008, p. 220) suggests that the suburban “alternative municipalities” in the vicinity of large cities will end the general population growth triggered by the current strong foreign immigration Would be the main sufferers. In contrast, the structurally strong rural areas, which are currently growing due to their endogenous potential, are likely to be less affected. In the structurally weak rural areas, which are already shrinking, the process of emptying is likely to continue.

For a long time, at least when looking at long-distance migration within Germany, the image of a growing north-west and south-east and a shrinking center of Germany has emerged (see e.g. Schlömer 2009, p. 82). There are indications that in addition to the eastern German territorial states, western German regions - above all North Rhine-Westphalia - will have to deal with the subject of shrinkage more intensively than before.


The studies make it clear that the strong migration gains in large cities have been increasingly fed by foreign immigration for some years. In 2014, 94% of the migration gains in large cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants can be attributed to foreign immigration. In many large cities, there are now even significant negative internal migration balances. As part of the evaluations, it was possible to show that those large cities in which real estate prices have risen above average have recorded particularly high internal migration losses among German citizens. This suggests that certain households are leaving the big cities because, due to the high prices, they see no way of fulfilling their living wishes there. The negative development of the internal migration balances of the big cities is therefore at least partly due to displacement processes due to the tense real estate markets and does not indicate a general loss of the attractiveness of big-city living.


  1. 1.

    With regard to the negative foreign migration balances in 2008 and 2009, it should be noted that the information on emigration abroad from 2008 to 2011 includes adjustments to the register that can be traced back to the introduction of personal tax identification numbers.

  2. 2.

    The data on real estate prices are based on evaluations of the online real estate exchange Immobilien Scout on the development of asking prices for condominiums (Immobilien Scout 2015).

  3. 3.

    Change in the number of employees subject to social insurance contributions between December 31, 2013 and June 30, 2015 in different types of areas (median): sparsely populated rural areas +3.03%, rural areas with densification approaches + 3.25%, urban areas + 2.95% , District-free smaller large cities +1.75%, District-free large large cities + 2.51% (source: Federal Employment Agency, own calculation).

  4. 4.

    Regional hikes are referred to here as those hikes that do not exceed a distance of 100 or 150 km.

  5. 5.

    In this study, the methodological reference should again be made to the distortions caused by the migration of refugees from the initial reception centers. For municipalities with initial reception facilities such as the district of Gießen or the city of Karlsruhe, high migration losses are reported as a result of this “special effect”.

  6. 6.

    Hikes over more than 150 km (straight line distance between the circle centers).

  7. 7.

    The strong supraregional migration losses in the district of Göttingen are to a large extent due to "special effects" from the Friedland initial reception facility.


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