1.4.2008 | Von:
Andreas Damelang
Max Steinhardt

The influence of economic conditions

In addition to the demographic differences described above, the cities also demonstrate very different economic circumstances.
Panorama vom Rotenberg auf die Daimler-Konzernzentrale, Mercedes-Benz Werk und Mercedes-Benz-Arena, Untertürkheim, Stuttgart.View of the corporate headquarters of Daimler Benz in the economically strong region of Baden-Württemberg. The more prosperous the economy of a region is, the greater the demand for foreign workers. (© picture alliance/chromorange)

These determine a city's potential for economic integration in two ways. Firstly the economic conditions have an impact on the supply of foreign workers by influencing immigration both quantitatively and qualitatively. Thus, for example, when choosing a location, labour migrants usually prefer regions with high salaries and low unemployment. Secondly, the economic situation in a region influences the demand for foreign workers. The more prosperous and labour intensive the economy of a region is, the greater the demand for foreign workers (cf. Steinhardt 2007a).

For this reason, on the basis of the three selected economic indicators shown in the Table, it is possible to illustrate the differing economic situation in the six biggest German cities.

Economic Indicators
Share of employed persons
ProductivityUnemploymentin skill-intensive industryin skill-intensive services
in €in %in %in %
Source: Federal Statistical Office, Eurostat

Labour productivity (GDP per person in gainful employment) is the central indicator for economic performance. It is apparent here that Frankfurt and Hamburg, as well as Munich and Stuttgart, are on similar levels, with the first two being ahead. Berlin and Cologne are clearly falling behind here, which in the case of Berlin can be explained by the structural change subsequent to reunification. It is clear, furthermore, that the cities are affected to differing degrees by unemployment. Whereas unemployment in Stuttgart and Munich at about 9% is significantly below the Federal average (12%), in Berlin 1/5 of the entire workforce is registered as unemployed. Moreover, analyses show that in all of the cities as many as about 50% out of those employed work in knowledge-intensive sectors. Certainly the cities differ in these sectors, in some cases considerably, with regard to the extent of occupation in industry and services. Thus Stuttgart and Munich demonstrate a disproportionately high number of people in knowledge-intensive industry, whereas this field plays only a marginal role in Berlin and Hamburg. By contrast, in the latter cities specialisation in high quality services is already well advanced. Overall it appears that the six biggest German cities demonstrate strong demographic and economic differences, which in turn have an impact on the integration of foreigners in the labour market.



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