The Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Internal Migration in Germany

Nikola Sander , Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB)
Nico Stawarz
Matthias Rosenbaum-Feldbrügge, Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB)
Harun Sulak, Federal Institute for Population Research, Germany
Vanessa Knobloch, Federal Statistical Office

More and more research shows the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on various areas of our daily lives, such as labor markets, travel, and working from home. Anecdotal evidence suggests that lockdowns and other social contact restrictions have led a rising demand for detached suburban housing. However, little research has yet been devoted to the impact that the pan-demic might have had on internal migration. This study aims to address these gap by determin-ing the shifts in internal migration flows between 2019 and 2020 in Germany. We draw on data provided by the population register on annual inter-county flows for the years 1991–2020 from the Federal Statistical Office Germany and the Statistical Offices of the Länder. We find that the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with a 5 percent drop in the intensity of inter-county migra-tion in 2020 compared to the previous year. Our analysis shows that the drop in migration in-tensity was most pronounced among adults aged 18 to 29, for which the intensity dropped by 8 percent, while the impact on other age groups was much more modest. The pandemic was also associated with an upsurge in net migration losses for the largest cities, driven by fewer inflows of young adults and increased outflows of young families. Consequently, a new age of suburban-ization could be dawning, fueled by the desire for green open space and the new flexibilities of working from home.

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 Presented in Session 51. Recent trends of internal migration