How is life in your country

City and Country: A Relationship Story

Rural exodus and urbanization

The gap between metropolis and province in Germany is not as extreme as in other countries because of the federal structure with 16 state capitals. Yet there is an imbalance between town and country. While villages in the outskirts of large cities are prospering, entire regions are suffering massively from rural exodus elsewhere, especially in the east. According to forecasts, some districts in Brandenburg could lose almost a third of the population by 2035.

There is a lack of jobs, shops, craft businesses, medical practices and banks. Schools and restaurants close. For the remaining residents, the quality of life deteriorates and the distances become wider. Because especially well-educated and mobile young people are moving away from the provinces, experts warn of a brain drain.

Equal living conditions

The government now wants to take countermeasures. The coalition agreement between the CDU / CSU and the SPD states: “Our goal is to have equal living conditions in urban and rural areas, in East and West.” Small communities should be given more opportunities for self-administration, the expansion of the Internet will be promoted and the local economy should grow. In some villages the residents take matters into their own hands and develop imaginative concepts for an attractive and active village life.

Germany's most popular cities

The Bavarian capital, Munich, is considered Germany's most livable city. In addition to the metropolises, medium-sized cities in particular attract new residents. The current climbers are Fürth, Bamberg and Passau in the south and Chemnitz, Magdeburg, Schwerin and Erfurt in the east of Germany. They attract with educational institutions, modern jobs, cultural and leisure activities and comparatively cheap rents.

Although the vast majority of Germans live in cities, 44 percent dream of living in the country. This was the result of a representative survey for “The Great Germany Study” by the TV station ZDF.

Studies and links on city and country in Germany

Bertelsmann study: Small and medium-sized towns are trendy

Interactive map: population development in Germany

Demography portal of the federal and state governments

“Die Zeit”: city, country, prejudice

ZDF: The great Germany study

Mercer Study: Quality of Living City Ranking 2018