Internal Migration in Germany Since 1991: Who Moves Where and Why?

Heiko Rüger, Federal Institute for Population Research
Nikola Sander, Federal Institute for Population Research
Harun Sulak, Federal Institute for Population Research
Christian Fiedler, Federal Institute for Population Research
Tim Aevermann, Federal Institute for Population Research

This paper draws on inter-country migration flow data from the German population register and the Microcensus to determine who moves where and why within Germany. We illuminate significant shifts in the spatial structure of internal migration flows since 1995 based on our time-series of annual migration matrices, in which we account for changes in the geography of Germany’s regions over time to ensure temporal consistency. We draw on supplementary data to shed some light on the characteristics of movers beyond sex and age, as well as the main motives for moving. Our results show a surprisingly stable intensity of inter-county migration flows, while the pattern of movement has shifted from sub-urbanisation in the 1990s to re-urbanisation in the late 2000s. The shift from sub-urbanisation to re-urbanisation has been triggered by a growing attractiveness of cities not only for young adults as a place to study and work, but also as an attractive place to raise a family. The results highlight the importance of the underlying geography for measuring the intensity of migration, especially the way how urban centres are distinguished from urban fringes and rural areas.

Presented in Session 1224: Internal Migration and Urbanization