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East Germany gets old, dumb and frustrated -- structural problems


Registered Member
18 years after the Reunification, the formerly communist East Germany has severe structural problems: It becomes old, dumb, poor and frustrated.

Guess where there was the Iron Curtain 19 years ago: This graphic is about the general contentment of the people with their lifes.

The darker, the more are people happy with their lifes. As you can see, people in the East are much unhappier with their lifes.

Why is that?

The unemployment is much higher in East Germany with ca. 20%, while in the West, it is "only" 8%.

The old industry not capable of competing with the West was mostly dissolved in the East after 1990. And of course, new enterprises are rather built up in those regions which are wealthy already, than in the rural regions where there are few economic infrastructure and educated people.

Many young people don't have prospects, so those who are well educated and flexible enough move to the West where they have better chances of finding a job -- a vicious circle.

Also, the birthrate, while generally low in Germany with 1.36 children/woman, is even lower in East with below 1.2 children/woman. Many rural areas in East Germany depopulate increasingly:

The red areas are regions with an increasing population, the blue areas lose population.

The result are regions in the East where more and more older people live, while many of the younger people leave.

There is considerable brain-drain to the West, so those who remain are generally much poorer and less educated than people in the West -- and usually those who have the lowest prospects.

Scientists are speaking of a "demographic time bomb" in these regards.

This also brings about political frustration: In the East, the potential of far-right parties is considerably higher than in the West -- the two only German states (of 16 states) where far-right parties, such as DVU and NPD have entered the state parliaments (by gaining more than 5% of the votes) are in the East.

Also, the votes for the ex-communist Left Party have increased from ca. 12% in 1990 to now between 25% and 30%. Protest voting is common in the East, the voters are less and less predictable and often distrust "the established parties".

Because of the lack of education, the lack of personal prospects (high unemployment and brain drain) and a lack of democratic tradition (the East is democratic only for 18 years now), far-right extremists have managed to win many young people with their propaganda. In some regions, a nationalistic youth culture dominates the schoolyards, intimidating other youngsters who don't dare to express themselves differently.

Although the number of right-extremist adolescents has decreased during the last few years, this still is a problem in many rural regions there.


What do you think about that?
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