Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I don't know anything about German politics, so my vote is valueless. But perhaps this is still a problem of reunification.

Question: Is migration of German citizens between the old East and West completely free? If so, why don't the unhappy East Germans move west?

Applying my "compare to America without bashing" theory: In the U.S., if you live in, say, Arkansas, and are poor and unhappy, you might move to North Carolina to get a better job. I can see why this is hard if you're moving from Turkey to Ireland, but within Germany, what is the mobility of the population?

by asdf on Thu Aug 11th, 2005 at 04:40:18 PM EST
It is maybe THE problem.

Much of the brightest moved off to the West (I don't have figures, but the population shift was in the millions - maybe a quarter or even third moved), and the exodus still continues today. The money pouring into the East is not only spent on a lot of expensive but stupid projects, but there is a weak basis left for high-skilled workers and entrepreneurs for the desired capitalist boom. It may have been better to do unification gradually, and without destroying structures in the East.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Aug 11th, 2005 at 04:47:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm almost certain that it's a lot less. I seem to remember it being c. 1.5 mill - i.e. about 10%. Googling Bevoelkerungsentwicklung Ostdeutschland I got a little over a mill for 1990-2002

A different paper says the total from 1989-2001 is 1.4 million people of net East-West migration. Of that a good half in 1989-1990 with almost 400,000 net migrants each of those two years, explaining the difference between the two papers (first doesn't include 1989). Both have interesting details if you feel like learning more about the topic. (auf deutsch). They confirm that it is primarily young people (twenties, thirties) that leave and also note that after the initial surge women outnumber men almost 2:1 among the migrants.

by MarekNYC on Fri Aug 12th, 2005 at 12:01:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's net migration. Unfortunately, most of the back-migrants are seniors, so as a drain on the economy, I'd look at the total numbers - and those are much higher, more like the twice of that. I post figures if I find a good enough source (what I Googled so far only covers parts of the 1989-2004 range). On the other hand, 3 million is just one fifth (of the 1989 15 million), so I was off at any rate.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Aug 12th, 2005 at 06:35:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cobbled together from here,   here,  
and here:

Year    left    arrived    net
1989:    -388400    5100    -383300
1990:    -395343    36200    -359143
1991:    -249743    80267    -169476
1992:    -199170    111345    -87825
1993:    -172386    119100    -53286
1994:    -163034    135774    -27260
1995:    -168336    143063    -25273
1996:    -166007    151973    -14034
1997:    -167789    157348    -10441
1998:    -182478    151750    -30728
1999:    -195530    151943    -43587
2000:    -214456    153179    -61277
2001:    -192002    94441    -97561
2002:    -176700    95876    -80824
2003:    -155385    97035    -58350
2004:    no data yet
all:    -3186759 1684394 -1502365

So it must be over 3.3 million by now.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Aug 12th, 2005 at 07:18:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Any idea if a significant number of the west-east migrants are returning E. Germans? E.g. Students, people who moved but didn't find a job or whatever? I presume that most aren't considering the employment situation in the East. On the other hand plenty of W.German Beamte moved east. You've also gotten some internal mixing in Berlin with lots of W. Berliners moving to the suburbs or to the fun neighbourhoods in central E. Berlin.
by MarekNYC on Fri Aug 12th, 2005 at 03:34:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good points;sorry I don't have the numbers to quantify them.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Aug 12th, 2005 at 03:40:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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