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Germany

Why Women Are Fleeing Eastern Germany

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Auf wiedersehen — Photo: Sascha Kohlmann

BERLIN — Where have all the women gone? That is the latest question in some parts of the former East Germany, which a new study shows to have Europe's lowest ratio of women to men.

German demographers and economists have already noted that after the Wall came down in 1989, very few children were born amidst the collapse of the GDR — and many of those who were born in this period left eastern Germany once they were old enough to seek better economic opportunities elsewhere. Germans speak of a "halved" generation in its eastern states.

Now, a new study by the Federal Institute of Population Research shows that there is also a net surplus of men to be found in the wake of these demographic changes, German news wire DPA reports. Some rural areas have an "unprecedented" lack of women by European standards, the study found.

This is due to the "very mobile" eastern German women between the ages of 18-24 who tend to be better educated than men of the same age, according to the study, and leave either for Western Germany, large Eastern cities, or abroad. There are districts with up to 25% more men than women, between the ages of 18-29, the Federal Institute noted — which is mostly the case in infrastructurally weak, rural regions.

"This is also the case in rural regions in Western Germany but not to the same extent," Manuel Slupina of the Berlin Institute for Population and Development told DPA.

Read the full story in German here.

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