Die Stadtflucht / The Urban Escape by Zeit Online

For decades, Germany's major cities - all cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, from Salzgitter to Berlin - attracted people from the countryside. But data show that the trend has reversed. Large cities are beginning to shrink.

ZEIT ONLINE has evaluated all moves within Germany for 30 years, for 67 large cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants.

The data prove it: The intra-German city boom already came to an end in 2013. Cities are now only growing as a result of inward migration from abroad. The relationship between urban and rural areas has changed.

We were able to show that some demographic trends are changing the relationship between urban and rural areas: The population of large cities is now younger on average than the population in the countryside. The proportion of people without a German passport has increased significantly in all cities. Families in particular are leaving the big cities. The suburbs of the cities are booming, while the cities themselves are not growing any further, at least for the time being.

Beyond the all-German analysis, ZEIT ONLINE has published 67 individual articles - one for each city with more than 100,000 inhabitants: How has Heidelberg changed as a result of people moving in and out? How has Hamburg, Salzgitter, Herne or Augsburg? We have installed a search mask on our homepage where readers can find their hometown to find out how it has changed over the past 30 years. The analysis shows how seriously different German cities have developed. Halle an der Saale has lost a full fifth of its population over the past 30 years - Ingolstadt, on the other hand, has grown by almost a third.