Why do younger people set trends

Rural exodus: Young people are moving en masse to the metropolises

Germans are drawn to the big cities. Young people in particular are leaving the rural regions. At the same time, the metropolises are now increasingly attractive for families, so that parents with small children move into the surrounding area less and less.

Experts see a sustained trend in the renaissance of cities and forecast a sharp rise in population numbers for cities such as Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin and Hamburg in 2030 - with considerable consequences for the housing market and infrastructure.

“The core cities are becoming more and more attractive,” says Nikola Sander from the Vienna Institute of Demography. The population scientist analyzed the internal migration of Germans in a study and identified a new rural exodus.

Mobility is highest in the 18 to 24 age group. Since almost as many young people are now studying in Germany as they are starting dual training, the university towns are becoming magnets. The chances of getting good jobs are also much better in the metropolises, so that the majority of young academics do not return to their old home.

The trend is towards the big city

Sander has noticed a serious change in the age group of 25 to 49 year olds. By the turn of the millennium, many middle-aged people turned their backs on the city centers to raise their children in the surrounding areas.

But the willingness to migrate in this age group has decreased significantly in recent years. Even after starting a family, most people stay in the city these days. “The trend towards suburbanization that was widespread in the 1990s has largely come to a standstill,” says demography expert Sander.

This means that a self-reinforcing process is emerging for the future: If even families prefer city centers to rural regions, the concentration on the core cities will continue to increase in the future.

According to the population researcher, the trend towards big cities can also be observed in other developed countries such as the USA, France and Australia. But what is striking for Germany is that most of the internal migration takes place within neighboring regions. Only Berlin, Munich and Hamburg are also highly attractive to people from other parts of Germany.

The other cities, on the other hand, benefited primarily from immigration from the nearby rural regions. Cologne and Bonn, for example, are mainly moving from North Rhine-Westphalia, while people from Baden-Württemberg are moving to Stuttgart.

Affordable apartments make city centers attractive