Chapter 6: Regional disparities

By using data for 2006, this chapter typifies the 439 districts and cities in the Federal Republic. They will be grouped to clusters in such a way that the differences within such clusters will be as small as possible while the differences between the individual clusters should be as big as possible.

Regarding the detection of socioeconomic and demographic differences between these territorial units, eight indicators turned out to be of special significance:

  • population development in percentages (1999-2006
  • proportion of the population at the age of under 18 (2006)
  • proportion of the population at the age of 65 and older (2006)
  • Social Security Code II (2006)
  • rate of underemployment (2006)
  • net equivalent income (average 2003-2006)
  • population density (2006)

Additionally, the average poverty rate of districts and cities was calculated by means of the micro census.

The study proves that the discrepancies between East and West socioeconomically as well as demographically are still obvious, even today. High rates of underemployment and solidified poverty structures, further enhanced in combination with the consequences of demographic change and population losses because of selective migration, are putting enormous pressure on the affected districts and cities. Although similarly precarious situations can be detected in certain West German districts and cities, too, these are isolated and not spatially concentrated. The East of the Republic, however, is almost entirely covered by disadvantaged territorial units. Therefore, a further socio-demographic polarisation between the new and the old Federal States (Länder) seems more likely than the intended adjustment of living conditions.


Results (German)
Die Top und Bottom Ten bezogen auf den soziodemographischen Status - Cluster 1 PDF
Ergebnisübersicht Cluster alphabetisch PDF
Ergebnisübersicht Cluster soziodemographisch PDF
Methodischer Anhang PDF
Diskussionspapier "20 Jahre Mauerfall - Wie steht es um die Angleichung der Lebensverhältnisse zwischen Ost und West?" Marc Neu PDF

Responsibility for this chapter

Soziologisches Forschungsinstitut an der Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (SOFI)

Prof. Dr. K.P. Strohmeier, Volker Kersting, Marc Neu; Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Regionalforschung der Ruhr-Universität Bochum (ZEFIR)