For many years, the rule for students and young professionals from the countryside or small towns was: get out of the children’s room and into a student dormitory or a shared apartment in a large city for the new phase of life after school.
However, the corona pandemic put the brakes on everything last year. In view of digital lectures, the move was postponed. Other job-related moves were also lower – in times of pandemic-related short-time work and uncertain future prospects, job and location changes are rare. This is also reflected in the figures published by the federal statistical office on thursday: there were declines in 2020 both in moves within germany – so-called internal migration – and in moves to and from abroad.
Cities do not continue to grow
At the end of last year, almost 24.5 million people in germany lived in cities with more than 100 inhabitants.000 inhabitants. This was around 29.4 percent of the total population of. The 0.7 percent annual growth in the city’s population recorded since 2011 did not continue. In the corona year 2020, there were about 855 net migrants from abroad in the area of internal migration.000 new students and 965 000 new students. In the previous year, there were 933.000 new employees compared with 993 000 who left.
The number of immigrants from abroad was around 452.000 and the number of emigrations to foreign countries at 361.000. In the previous year, the independent cities reported a total of 620 new registrations.000 inflows and 472.000 emigrants. Net immigration from abroad thus fell from 148.000 in 2019 to around 91.000 in 2020. The national average net immigration also fell significantly (-33 percent) due to the corona pandemic in 2020 ? However, the drop in the number of young people living in independent cities was even greater, at 38 percent.
The change is particularly pronounced in certain age groups. Thus, in the case of internal migration, the influx of 18- to 22-year-olds in particular, i.E. Young adults at the typical age of training and starting university, into the metropolitan area decreased. Are these figures due to the pandemic or is city life losing its appeal in the long term – particularly in connection with the change in working environments toward more mobile working??
Population researchers are not yet in agreement, says urban sociologist dieter rink from the helmholtz center for environmental research in leipzig. "We assume that the influx into the cities will no longer be as strong."This is not only due to the fact that many employees can do their work just as well from a home office as from a city office and live in the country without long commuting times. Another important argument is the high rent and house prices in the cities, says rink. "Prices also rose during the pandemic." This could also be an argument against the city in the future.
Cities attractive for young people
But cities remain attractive, especially for young people, says rink. "They want to go out, enjoy the leisure activities, get to know people of the same age. Ten or 15 years later, there will be other priorities again."For young families, the surroundings of the city will then become attractive, so that their children can grow up with plenty of green and clean air, safely and with little traffic. "Typically, it is families and couples who move into the surrounding area."In the large cities, however, a strong "singeing" with a high portion of one-person-households is noticeable.
According to the federal statistical office, demographic aspects must also be taken into account when considering whether 2020 will be an exceptional year and whether the major cities will grow again in the future. Demographic change means that the group of 18- to 22-year-olds who are moving most strongly into cities is becoming smaller and smaller. In 2020, the number of young people between the ages of 18 and 29 increased by 261.000 – while the population as a whole remained almost constant. In view of the demographic change, the key question for the population growth of the city was how immigration from abroad would develop in the coming years.