Germany is old.
In fact, figures released in 2015 showed that it had the second oldest population in the world after Japan. Between the turn of the 21st century and 2015, Germany’s average age rose by 3.3 years, from 40.6 to 43.9.
A new report on Monday by the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR) shows that there are huge differences between regions in terms of average population age.
The states that once made up communist East Germany during the Cold War tend to be much older than those in the former West. Berlin stands out within its surrounding area as having a relatively young population, with an average age of 42.6. The average age in the surrounding districts is at least 45.
Below: region by average population age. The darker the red, the older the average age.
With average population ages of less than 40 years old, the university towns of Freiburg and Heidelberg were the two youngest areas. And they were about ten years younger than areas in the east like Suhl (49,1), Altenburger Land (49,4) and in Dessau (49,5) – the oldest region in Germany. About 30 percent of the population there were older than 64, while in Freiburg and Heidelberg, such seniors made up around 16 percent.
And the age gap is growing wider as smaller towns lose their younger population to bustling cities.
“The chasm between growing big cities and university towns, and areas outside of these metropolitan areas has deepened in the last few years,” the report states.
Between 2000 and 2015, places like Suhl, Oberspreewald-Lausitz and Spree-Neiße have lost one in five of their residents.
In the southern German states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, the average population ages also tend to be lower because of their higher birth rates than other areas. In the northwest, the cities of Vechta and Cloppenburg in Lower Saxony are also relatively young with an average age of about 40, also because of their attractiveness for families.