The Standing of the East German Cities within the German System of Cities: An Interim Review on the Basis of Economic Indicators 20 Years after the German Unification
The hopes of the East German citizens coupled with the unification in 1990 were not only directed to their personal fortune, but also concerned the amelioration of the living conditions in their cities. Twenty years after this date, we can strike an interim balance how far these hopes have been become true. For this purpose, the thirteen largest East German cities (without Berlin) are compared to cities of similar size in three West German regions (South, North, Center represented by North Rhine/Westphalia). The indicators chosen rely to the cities’ economic and fiscal conditions. The indicators paint a differentiated picture: The average income per capita in the East German cities is still lower than in the West German cities and unemployment rates are still above the West German level. With respect to future growth potential, the East German cities show a relatively good endowment with qualified human capital, with public universities and research institutions. In contrast to that, the small size of the firms and the small number of firm headquarters are unfavourable for a dynamic growth in the future. Another persistent difference between East and West is the low level of public revenues, which keeps the East German cities dependent on Federal grants. The city officials were successful in cutting payroll costs and reducing the number of civil servants. In spite of the diverse depicted economic problems still to be solved, the East German cities over the years have shown impressive endurance in catching-up.