Urban Population Development in Germany (2000-2014): The Contribution of Migration by Age and Citizenship to Reurbanisation


  • Paul Gans University of Mannheim, Germany




Urban population development, Germany, Urban system, Reurbanisation, Suburbanisation, Internal migration, External migration, German citizens, Foreign citizens, Age groups, Housing market, Labour market


The increase of the population of large German cities between 2000 and 2014 indicates a reurbanisation process in line with the concept of the “growing city”. This exploratory investigation will analyse the influence of internal and external migration on the population development of the German urban system by applying descriptive and statistical methods, going beyond the mere observation of selected cities.

This paper shows that reurbanisation in Germany has resulted from various age- and citizenship-dependent combinations of spatial population movements, which in turn express different location advantages and disadvantages. The structural change towards a knowledge economy, the expansion of education, and changing living concepts on the demand versus new urbanistic planning concepts on the supply side strengthen the affinity of different population groups for urban living. This new attractiveness of cities seems to be most distinct among young adults’ motives for living in cities or not. Furthermore, the dynamics of these processes are also dependent upon conditions on the national and international levels. Thus, before the economic and financial crisis 2009 the balances of internal migration of the German as well as foreign population had a decisive influence on the dynamics, in-migration surpluses from abroad rose considerably after 2009. With the rising numbers of asylum seekers, state-controlled residence allocations as well as migrant networks are increasingly important for the population development of cities. At the same time, especially in cities with at least 500,000 inhabitants, ongoing growth is creating shortages on the housing and real estate markets, which tend to counteract the population growth.


* This article belongs to a special issue on reurbanisation.




How to Cite

Gans, P. 2018. Urban Population Development in Germany (2000-2014): The Contribution of Migration by Age and Citizenship to Reurbanisation. Comparative Population Studies. 42, (Feb. 2018). DOI:https://doi.org/10.12765/CPoS-2018-01.



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