From the Guardian, it seems that depopulation (any significant reduction in human population) has become a serious problems for the former East Germany.
“Martin Schiller has a problem familiar to many 17-year-old boys: not enough girls. Schiller’s difficulties, however, are not of his making. Nature has not been kind to him. Not in terms of his looks, but his birthplace. For his home town of Königstein, a cluster of red-roofed traditional buildings tucked in a picturesque bend of the Elbe river beneath a giant 700-year-old castle, has recently been revealed to have the biggest demographic imbalance of anywhere in Europe between young men and women.”
There is definitely a depopulation trend in Europe (especially for rural areas) but it is mostly the women of East Germany that are leaving for the West in large numbers for better job opportunities. It has been estimated that approximately 500,000 women under 30 have left for the west in the past 15 years. More generally, in the face of failing communities, the government is considering ending the subsidies that were poured into East Germany after the reunification. Such an investment simply does not seem to be worth it. So, for some, it is time to tell the inhabitants of these communities to accept stagnation and slow death or adapt and change.
One side effect of such depopulation has been the return of wildlife which enjoys an increase in habitat as houses are demolished and humans leave the area. Lynx are making a comeback.
Such a phenomenon has had multiple consequences, one of which is the rise of the far-right, neo-Nazi party (NPD) in the depopulated parts of Germany. The NPD denies it of course (hey, who wants to be party of losers?), stating “we are not the party of lonely men” (Hahahahahahaha… oh, he was serious). I think they should try recruiting lynx. Nevertheless, the NPD might be popular among downwardly mobile men because its platform emphasizes “traditional gender roles” (translation: when men get to tell women what to do and women have no choice because they are being denied equality at home and in the workplace).
So, why, exactly, are women leaving in larger numbers than men? Several explanations have been suggested:
Communist socialization where women were encouraged to seek diverse careers whereas men were pushed towards industrial jobs that are no longer available.
The gender bias in schools where most of the staff is composed of women, and therefore the environment is more favorable to women. (oh please)
Biology makes women do better in school: they mature earlier and work harder (yeah… to get the hell out of losertown).
East German women simply find that Western German men meet their higher expectations better (it all goes back to the rational choice theory combined with the marriage market).
Overall, it seems that there are more incentives for women to climb the social ladder through education AND internal migration. And certainly, the incentives to remain in such communities and marry there are not attractive, especially for educated women. And whereas depopulated communities are trying to attract newcomers through cheap land deals and services, a lack of economic activity, along with a strong neo-Nazi party, might still be a major obstacle to population increase.