Frankfurt / Main (dpa) – According to one forecast, Germany’s population will grow in metropolitan areas by 2035, although not by as much.
The crown crisis is holding back the immigration of skilled workers from abroad to major cities, according to a new analysis by the Hamburg-based GEWOS Institute for Urban, Regional and Housing Research. Also, more people migrated to the surroundings.
With the support of the former federal states, the Federal Republic’s population will increase by 0.7 percent to 83.7 million, the researchers predict. While the population in West Germany is likely to grow by 1.4 percent by 2035, East Germany will likely lose 2.3 percent of the population. This also has consequences for the housing markets, according to the study, which is available to the dpa.
GEWOS anticipates a significant population increase by 2035 in Berlin (+6.6 percent), Frankfurt (+6.2), Hamburg (+4.7) and Cologne (+4.8). In Munich (+4.0 percent), growth is slowly reaching its limits and weakening. “Despite the dynamic activity of new construction, the supply of housing there cannot keep up with external demand, so demand pressure is spreading to the region,” the authors write. Düsseldorf (+0.9 percent) and Stuttgart (plus 2.6 percent) will also hardly grow in the future.
According to GEWOS, population growth will be slowed by declining immigration from abroad this year and 2021, a consequence of the Corona crisis. “Companies are wary of new hires and travel restrictions have slowed mobility,” said CEO Carolin Wandzik. Less immigration from abroad could temporarily ease the pressure on real estate markets in cities. Starting in 2022, external migration is likely to increase again, but no longer reach the level of the previous decade.
Skilled immigrant workers have caused a significant increase in large cities in recent years. Young families, for example, are drawn to the surroundings, also due to high real estate prices. Polls show that the trend could intensify with the crown crisis. A third of Germans living in big cities would like to move to the countryside or at least a small town, according to a study by the Civey Institute among a good 2,700 people for “Die Zeit”.
Not only cities, but also people attract, according to GEWOS. Almost all of southern Germany is gaining residents. Except for some structurally weak regions in the northeast, the population of Bavaria will increase by as much as ten percent by 2035. Things are also improving in much of Baden-Württemberg, in the Rhine-Neckar and Rhine-Main regions, in Hannover and in the “VW region” near Wolfsburg and Braunschweig.
Whether the regions gain as many inhabitants as estimated depends above all on whether key industries such as the automotive industry and mechanical engineering in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Lower Saxony can cope with structural change, limits of GEWOS. Forecasts for such long periods of time are fraught with uncertainty.
The institute views Cologne and Düsseldorf in the west and Leipzig and Dresden in the east as islands of growth in regions with largely stagnant or declining populations. However, the areas that are being emptied are not just a feature of East Germany. The contracting or stagnant regions extended into southern Lower Saxony, northern Hesse, Saarland, the Ruhr area, and Schleswig-Holstein.
While growing regions face the problem of creating enough affordable housing and integrating immigrants, population losses can hardly be reversed, according to GEWOS. The goal here is to adapt existing structures to a shrinking and aging population.