(Why) have women left East Germany more frequently than men?

Johannes Stauder, Universität Heidelberg

There has been a massive internal migration from East to West Germany after German reunification in 1990. Most researchers take for granted that more women – and especially young women – than men have gone West. Previous analyses focused on the labor market as the crucial determinant of this gender specific internal migration, stating that high unemployment and a low demand for female attributed jobs have pushed women more than men to leave East Germany. This empirical diagnosis is superficial: While we actually find a higher net emigration rate for women than for men, this is not the result of a surplus of women leaving East Germany, but a result of less West German women migrating to East Germany. Only when we focus on those younger than 25 years, we actually find more women than men migrating from East to West Germany. But many women and men in this age group are not yet looking for a job on the labor market. Instead, the main push and pull factors in this age group might be linked to education and family events. Especially, from previous research we know that young women leave the parental household earlier than young men do. Using the German Socioeconomic Panel, the talk will describe gender specific internal migration from East to West Germany and from West to East Germany between 1991 and 2012 in more detail. Thereby, I will separate migration for labor market reasons, migration for educational reasons and migration with a purely familial background. In addition, the description will differentiate original migration vs. re-migration and highly educated vs. lower educated women and men. Research on internal migration in Germany should pay more attention to education and family as push- and pull-factors and to migration from West- to East-Germany.

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Presented in Session 56: Determinants of internal migration and mobility