Taken on face value it seems like the south of Germany is once again winning the race to remain the wealthiest part of the country into the middle of the 21st Century.
The rich regions of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg are showing such strong economic development that the rest of the country has little chance of catching up, argues Die Welt.
But a new report by Prognos, a Swiss think tank, argues that underneath the surface the major urban centres of the East are growing the roots of long-term wealth.
Prognos’ Future Atlas 2016, a comprehensive study of the economic fortunes of 402 German cities and regions, looked at indicators such as demographics, prosperity, job prospects and innovation.
Berlin, Leipzig, Erfurt, Chemnitz and Weimar have all made huge leaps up the rankings since the last report was published in 2013.
Leipzig, Saxony's largest city, was the biggest winner among cities with the best long-term improvements in prospects, rising 197 places up the charts since 2004.
Thuringian capital Erfurt also scored major gains with a 138-place rise in the ranks.
Meanwhile Berlin was the city that had made the most progress since the last rankings, rising 110 places.
“The two watersheds between east and west as well as north and south remain unchanged,” said lead researcher Peter Kaiser in a statement.
“But that makes it all the more noteworthy that ever-more east German cities are developing so well.”
The report also noted, though, that other regions in the east have fallen further behind the rest of the country as they struggle with ageing populations and flight of young people to cities.
For the first time, the study looked at how well regions are equipped to adapt to a digital future. Munich was the only city to be awarded the top grade of five plus, but Berlin was given five stars, along with Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart and 12 other regions.
But when it came to the best of the best, the south was still cock of the roost, with Bavaria in particular earning a gleaming report.
Munich came top of the 402 regions while greater Munich came in second. Ingolstadt, home of Audi, was third, while another Bavarian town, Starnberg came in at number eight.
Baden-Württemberg was represented by Böblingen and state capital Stuttgart at places four and seven, while central Hesse snuck into the table with financial centre Frankfurt and nearby Darmstadt at places 10 and nine respectively.
This graphic shows the ten German cities and regions “with the best prospects for the future.”