More and more people moving from Germany's cities to suburbs

More and more people moving from Germany's cities to suburbs

Facing a shortage of affordable housing and no longer required to work from the office, more and more people are leaving German cities to live in the suburbs and surrounding rural areas. 

German cities losing more residents to suburbs

According to a new analysis by the data company Empirica Regio, big German cities like Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Stuttgart are increasingly losing their residents to surrounding districts. While these major metropolises once benefitted from an influx of residents from outer-city areas, now the tide is moving the other way. 

The study, which was made available to dpa, found that in 2018 more than 47.000 people moved from the seven largest German cities to directly adjacent districts. In 2021, 56.600 people changed their address from the city to the suburbs: 17.249 people moved from Berlin to adjacent districts, 11.145 in Hamburg, 7.894 in Cologne and 6.653 in Frankfurt. 

Influx puts pressure on suburban areas in Germany

Empirica Regio wrote that this reverses the trend seen between 2010 and 2013, when the population of these cities grew strongly. Since 2018 the trend towards moving away from city centres has continued to intensify - as people are increasingly priced out of the competitive housing markets, and are able to work remotely or willing to commute longer distances. 

However, these movements do not necessarily mean that these cities are seeing their populations shrink, since in many places the loss of residents from inner- to outer-city areas is made up for by people immigrating from other places in Germany and abroad. In Berlin, for example, more people arrived in the city than left in 2021, resulting in net population growth. 

According to Jan Grade, managing director of Empirica Regio, the urban exodus represents both opportunities and “growing pains” for suburban areas. As dpa reports, while the influx of families can help to revitalise districts, it also puts additional pressure on infrastructure like public transport and energy supply and facilities like daycare centres and schools



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

Read more



Leave a comment