Grunau, Leipzig.
After the fall of the Berlin wall and German reunification in 1989/90, the city of Leipzig suffered from massive out-migration and heavy deindustrialisation. This resulted in a population decrease of about 100,000 people and a loss of 80,000 jobs between 1989 and 1998. Leipzig has been growing considerably since the 2000s and the city has become the most prominent example of reurbanisation in eastern Germany. At the same time, unemployment and poverty rates have remained above the national average.

Due to diverse strands of in-migration and immigration, the make-up of Leipzig’s population has become increasingly diversified in the last years. The selected case study areas represent two priority areas of urban intervention and restructuring. In both districts, social, ethnic, and demographic diversification are closely intertwined.

Leipzig-Grünau is a large housing estate situated on the western outskirts of the city, which has experienced numerous shifts and turns during its short existence. Built during the 1970s and 1980s, the estate populated quickly. Housing allocation strategies in the socialist years established a social mix, which largely continued during the post-socialist transition. Demographically, the estate experienced steep population losses in the 1990s and 2000s, which bottomed out only recently. Housing vacancies occurred, followed by state-funded demolition programmes, which reduced the housing stock considerably. Remaining residents aged in place so that the estate today shows a large share of elderly residents. Ethnically, parts of the estate have become a destination for immigrant households in recent times. These households are on average younger than German long-term residents; many of them being young families with children. Also, in-migrating households, whether Germans or migrants, have a lower income on average and a higher share of unemployed adults.

Leipzig’s inner east was one of several workers’ districts that developed around Leipzig between 1850 and 1920. During the GDR era, large-scale dilapidation and physical decay caused selective out-migration and led to above average proportions of older, poor and socially disadvantaged people. By 2000, Leipzig’s inner east had experienced vast state-subsidised investments, but still showed one of the highest vacancy rates in the city. But new in-migration had already started in the late 1990s when the area became attractive to a variety of groups, such as young people, small households, students, low-income families and single parents, as well as migrants. In-migration resulted in both rejuvenation and diversification of the residential population. The increasing share of (international) migrants is a specific feature of Leipzig’s inner east. It developed into Leipzig’s first real migrant area, and currently has shares of 18-20% of migrants in some districts. In recent years until today (2013), the number of inhabitants in the area is growing rapidly. Just as in Grünau, much depends on how Leipzig’s story of in-migration and regrowth will proceed in the coming years.

District Images

Key Statistics

GERMANY Germany Leipzig [1]) Leipzig-East [1] Leipzig-Grünau [1]
Area km² 357 121.41 297.36 5.82 11.65
Total population 80 500 000 [3] 531 809 45 002 46 739
Average household income in € 464 525 16 968 13 659 16 210
Unemployment 6.7% [7] 11.5% (6) 14% 12%
Receiving state benefits 9% [8] 15% 27% 21%
Owner occupied housing 46% [9] 12% 2% 14%
Total rent per m2 and month in € 7.01 5.01 4.6 4.4
Household rent load 23% [11] 34% 36% 32%
Highest level of education completed Germany Leipzig [1] Leipzig-East [1] Leipzig-Grünau [1]
Primary education; lower secondary education 65% [4] 63% 58% 78%
High school 34% [4] 37% 42% 22%
Tertiary education 14% [4] 25% 22% 15%
Largest ethnic groups [14] Germany Leipzig [1] Leipzig East [1] Leipzig Grünau [1]
Germans 92% [12] 92% 88% 97%
Migrants 20% [3] 8.6% 20% 6.5%
(among them) foreigners 8.2% [3] 5.2% 13% 2.9%
Age Groups

Leipzig 0-15

Leipzig 15-25

Leipzig 25-45

Leipzig 45-65

Leipzig 65+


General note: The figures were calculated by the authors based on municipal and federal statistics as well as other sources due to a lack of data according to case study borders as well as lack of comparable data at different spatial levels.

1. Ortsteilkatalog Leipzig, 2012 (Stadt Leipzig)
2. Gebiet und Bevölkerung – Fläche und Bevölkerung, 2011 (Statistische Ämter des Bundes und der Länder)
3. Bevölkerung, 2012 (Statistisches Bundesamt)
4. Bildungsstand – Bevölkerung nach Bildungsabschluss in Deutschland , 2012 (Statistisches Bundesamt)
5. Einkommen, Einnahmen und Ausgaben – Einkommen, Einnahmen privater Haushalte 2011 in den Gebietsständen, 2011 (Statistisches Bundesamt)
6. Erwerbstätigkeit und Arbeitsmarkt – Arbeitslose, 2013 (Stadt Leipzig)
7. Aktuelle Entwicklungen am Arbeitsmarkt in Deutschland, 2013 (Bundesagentur für Arbeit)
8. Soziale Mindestsicherung – Empfängerinnen und Empfänger nach Leistungsart und Veränderungsrate, 2012 (Statistisches Bundesamt)
9. Wohnen – Haushalte nach Haus- und Grundbesitz am 1.1. 2008 (Statistisches Bundesamt)
10. Immobilienscout 24 „Mietpreis-Ranking der 50 größten deutschen Städte“, 2011
11. Wohnen – Mietbelastungsquote von Hauptmieterhaushalten 2010, 2010 (Statistisches Bundesamt)
12. Bevölkerung auf Grundlage des Zensus 2011 – Bevölkerung nach Geschlecht und Staatsangehörigkeit, 2013 (Statistisches Bundesamt)
13. Bevölkerung auf Grundlage früherer Zählungen – Bevölkerung nach Altersgruppen, Familienstand und Religionszugehörigkeit, 2011 (Statistisches Bundesamt)
14. The numbers do not add up to 100% since there are overlaps between the people belong to them.

Leipzig Reports

Urban Policies on Diversity

Critical analysis of existing urban policy programmes and discourses in the case study city. Includes overview of political systems and governance structures, key shifts in national discourses, and approaches to policy over migration, citizenship, and diversity.

Governance Arrangements and Initiatives

Analysis of local governance arrangements and initiatives in the case study area that target social cohesion, social mobility and economic performance.

Work Package 5 Initiatives

Fieldwork Inhabitants

Analysis of how urban diversity and policies and arrangements affect different population groups living in cities in terms of social cohesion and social mobility.

Fieldwork Entrepreneurs

Analysis of how urban diversity and policies and arrangements with respect to urban diversity affect different population groups living in cities in terms of economic performance and to clarify who (which social groups) profit and how they profit.

Leipzig News

Leipzig City Book


Among DIVERCITIES’ case studies, Leipzig represents a special case, because it has undergone radical changes after 1990, like other post-socialist cities (Budapest, Warsaw, Tallinn), but these are not institutionally embedded in the reunification with western