Coronavirus has pushed people to leave big cities in Germany

Coronavirus has pushed people to leave big cities in Germany

Coronavirus has pushed people to leave big cities in Germany

A recent study has revealed that a large number of city-dwellers want to trade skyscrapers for cottages and move to a smaller town or the suburbs. Around half of these people said coronavirus was the driving force behind their decision to leave.

Are German cities facing an exodus?

The coronavirus pandemic, and the subsequent restrictions, lockdowns and social-distancing rules, are causing a significant number of people to consider leaving the big cities in Germany, according to a recent study. The Ifo Institute for Economic Research and the housing website Immowelt surveyed residents from cities with more than 500.000 inhabitants and found that 12,9 percent of them wanted to leave within a year. From those who said they wanted to leave, almost 50 percent blamed coronavirus for their decision.

“Many respondents state that they want to make fewer compromises with their own living conditions in the future because they spend more time at home due to the pandemic,” said Jan-Carl Mehles, head of market research at Immowelt and co-author of the study. The study surveyed 18.000 people from urban, suburban and rural areas in Germany in May this year.

The study showed that 5,3 percent of the people wanted to leave their city within six months, while 7,6 percent wanted to move within 12 months. A further 18,5 percent of respondents said that they wanted to leave their city in the next two to five years and another 24,4 percent said they were open to leaving their city. Only 44,2 percent of respondents refused to leave their city.

Germans set their sights on smaller cities and the suburbs

The most popular destinations for relocation among those who want to leave the cities are, in fact, smaller cities with populations ranging between 100.000 and 500.000 inhabitants, as well as the suburban areas around big cities. Just 11 percent of respondents said they were interested in moving to the countryside. Younger people and families seem to be particularly interested in leaving the cities, leading to co-author Mathias Dolls to suggest links to public transport and educational opportunities will start to become more important in suburban areas.

The study also highlighted that the rest of the population also don’t see big cities as particularly desirable. According to Dolls, there is no way of knowing how many people will actually put their plans into practice and there will always be people who move to big cities. However, Dolls did say that people’s plans to leave the city within six or 12 months can be seen as relatively concrete.

The race to leave Hanover

The residents of Hanover, according to the study, want to leave more than in any other city in Germany, with 16,5 percent of people surveyed saying they wanted to move away within a year. Frankfurt also has a significant number of residents who want to leave (16,2 percent), as does Dortmund (14,2 percent), Berlin and Stuttgart (both with 14,1 percent). The people of Leipzig (10,5 percent), Dresden (9,5 percent) and Essen (7,6 percent) had the least desire to leave their cities.

William Nehra


William Nehra

William studied a masters in Classics at the University of Amsterdam. He is a big fan of Ancient History and football, particularly his beloved Watford FC.

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