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Internal Migration and Regional Population Dynamics in Europe: German Case Study

By M. Kupiszewski, H. Bucher, H. Durham and P. Rees


Report prepared for the Council of Europe (Directorate of Social and Economic Affairs, Population and Migration Division) and for European Commission (Directorate General V, Employment, Industrial Relations and Social Affairs, Unit E1, Analysis and Research on the Social Situation) \ud This paper reports on internal migration and regional population dynamics and to a lesser extend on international migration in Germany. It examines internal migration patterns and trends in two years, 1984, 1989 and 1993, and compares them. Germany has a particularly sophisticated population system with a large number of population categories behaving in a very different way. The indigenous population shows a pattern of urban deconcentration typical for affluent West-European countries, both in the forms of suburbanisation and counterurbanisation. All other groups of migrants, those coming from former East Germany, those of German origin coming from outside Germany (Aussiedler) and other international migrants, show a pattern of strong concentration in urban centres. As far as migrations from East to West Germany is concerned the pattern is changing, as the number of migrants declines rapidly. Also in East Germany itself there is a marked shift. The pattern of rapid concentration of population due mainly to rural to urban migration is moving, for the time being, to weak and fragmented deconcentration. This process will speed up with the economic development of Eastern Länder. \ud Medium density areas gain people, high and low density areas lose people. The relationship between net migration on the one hand and population density on the other was strongly negative for low density areas and for the less populated areas. The gainers were areas with a medium density of population. \ud The age of migrants has a profound impact on their behaviour. There are important variations in redistribution of population by life course stage. The dominant urban deconcentration was most characteristic of middle working and family ages and the pre-retirement and retirement ages. People in the young adult ages migrated in different directions, showing a unique shift to some dense neighbourhoods in big cities, those close to higher education institutions. Unemployment influences migration profoundly. People move between areas of differing unemployment in ways predicted by classical economic equilibrium theory, leaving areas of high unemployment and going to areas of lower unemployment. \ud German population dynamics depends on three factors: natural increase (persistently negative), internal migration and international migration. International migration is the only factor which maintains the size of population and even allows for a moderate growth. There is no direct threat that the population inhabiting German territory, will decline in the near future, but this may happen to the German population

Publisher: School of Geography
Year: 1998
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