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Old Posted Jan 17, 2016, 3:03 PM
New Brisavoine New Brisavoine is offline
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Now that we have the results of the 2013 French census which allows us to calculate the growth rate of the French metro areas in 2012, this is the first post-2011 EU censuses year for which we can make comparisons between the French and German metro areas for a full year (all population figures for the German metro areas were revised down after the results of the German May 2011 census were published).

For the German metro areas, we don't have precise definitions of their extents based on commuter flows as exist in France, but I've used the definitions of the forumer Chrissib at SSC (map below), which are a good approximation I would say.



Only the Berlin "metro area" here is a bit over extended, because Chrissib used entire German districts (Kreise), and the districts in Brandenburg are pretty extended, so that they include large and distant rural areas with no significant relation or commuter flows to Berlin.

So for Berlin I've used a more narrow definition of the metro area, one that is proposed by the local authorities of Berlin and Brandenburg. This more narrow definition of the Berlin metro area is defined at the municipality (Gemeinde) level, and includes the city-state of Berlin + 69 municipalities in Brandenburg. You can see its extent below, with its land area compared to the Munich metro area (both maps at the same scale).



Note that by using this more narrow definition of the Berlin metro area it pushes the Berlin growth rate up, since depressed and declining rural areas of Brandenburg are removed, but that's a more faithful representation of the Berlin growth I would say.

So... now for the results!

Relative growth rate of the metro areas in 2012:
- Bordeaux: +1.72%
- Montpellier: +1.66%
- Toulouse: +1.63%
- Munich: +1.54%
- Rennes: +1.48%
- Berlin: +1.31%
- Geneva (CH + FR): +1.30% (French part: +2.74% ; Swiss part: +0.53%)
- Nantes: +1.24%
- Lyon: +1.07%
- Angers: +0.87%
- Lille: +0.80%
- Stuttgart: +0.77%
- Rhine-Main: +0.75%
- Hamburg: +0.70%
- Dijon: +0.70%
- Tours: +0.68%
- Avignon: +0.67%
- Grenoble: +0.67%
- Clermont-Ferrand: +0.64%
- Strasbourg: +0.60%
- Orléans: +0.56%
- Paris: +0.52%
METROPOLITAN FRANCE: +0.51%
- Saint-Etienne: +0.47%
- Caen: +0.44%
- Marseille: +0.42%
- Rouen: +0.30%
GERMANY: +0.24%
- Toulon: +0.12%
- Rhine-Ruhr: +0.09%
- Metz: +0.05%
- Nice: -0.01%
- Douai-Lens: -0.31%
- Nancy: -0.39%

As in France, the largest German metro areas grow above the national rate, but perhaps even more so than in France. Unsurprisingly the Rhine-Ruhr is the only one below the national rate, but it is now growing again after years of decline, due to Germany's renewed inflows of international immigrants.

For Germany, contrary to France, we already have the metro area growth rates for 2013 and 2014. What's surprising is one would expect Munich to have grown even more in 2013 and 2014 due to the fact that Germany absorbed even more immigrants during these two years than in 2012, but in fact the opposite happened! The Munich metro area went from a growth rate of +1.54% in 2012 to +1.42% in 2013 to +1.29% in 2014. I frankly did not expect that.

This necessarily means that other metro areas must have absorbed these larger waves of immigrants. Judging from the figures I have for only the metro areas listed here, it seems it's essentially the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main metro areas which absorbed this increasing number of international immigrants in 2013 and 2014. The growth rate of the Rhine-Main went from +0.75% in 2012 to +1.07% in 2014, whereas the growth rate of the Rhine-Ruhr went from just +0.09% in 2012 to +0.39% in 2014. This last figure of course has a special resonance given what happened in Cologne on New Year's Eve. Given that the Rhine-Ruhr has the largest birth deficit of all large German metro areas (way more deaths than births), for it to reach +0.39% in 2014 means it must have absorbed more than 100,000 immigrants in just one year!

Which leads me to... the net migration figures.

Same as I did with the French metro areas, I've calculated the net migration of the German metro areas by subtracting the natural change (births minus deaths) from the total population growth. And this is what we get.

(note that for the metro areas the net migration figure is both the sum of international net migration AND domestic net migration, whereas for Germany and Metropolitan France it's only international net migration, and also migration from overseas France in the case of Metropolitan France; Metropolitan France means the European part of France, not the metro areas of France)

Net migration of the metro areas, Germany, and Metropolitan France in 2012:
GERMANY: +368,945
METROPOLITAN FRANCE: +90,831
- Berlin: +56,258
- Rhine-Ruhr: +44,121
- Munich: +34,521
- Rhine-Main: +32,318
- Hamburg: +25,078
- Stuttgart: +20,711

- Bordeaux: +15,193
- Toulouse: +12,312
- Lyon: +6,386
- Geneva (FR + CH): +6,343 (French part: +5,826 ; Swiss part: +517)
- Montpellier: +6,085
- Rennes: +5,478
- Nantes: +5,283
- Nîmes: +4,255
- Perpignan: +3,416
- Béziers: +3,320
- Bayonne: +3,188
- Annecy: +2,940
- Clermont-Ferrand: +1,666
- Tours: +1,550
- Avignon: +1,282
- Dijon: +1,189
- Angers: +1,167
- Strasbourg: +943
- Toulon: +764
- Saint-Etienne: +531
- Grenoble: +506
- Lille: +353
- Caen: +245
- Orléans: -325
- Marseille: -1,006
- Metz: -1,170
- Rouen: -1,282
- Nice: -1,439
- Nancy: -3,108
- Douai-Lens: -3,471
- Paris: -46,551

What's crazy is in France, metro areas like Bordeaux or Toulouse are considered super attractive, but the largest German metro areas have net migration figures all considerably higher than those of Bordeaux and Toulouse. This is of course because Germany had way more immigrants than France in 2012, but I think it's also because the large German metro areas polarize the country much more than the French ones. In France, dozens of smaller metro areas along the Atlantic and Mediterranean arc attract people, whereas in Germany, besides the fact that more international immigrants arrive, it seems the German people move preferably to only a few large metro areas.

Another interesting thing is, contrary to what one could have expected, it's not Munich that had the highest net migration after Berlin, but the Rhine-Ruhr. I haven't made calculations for 2013 and 2014, but it's almost certain that in 2014 the Rhine-Ruhr passed Berlin and had by far the largest net migration figure of all German metro areas.

Now if we look at the natural change (births minus deaths), things are of course pretty different.

These are the French metro areas with the highest rates of natural change (births minus deaths divided by total population at the start of period) in 2012. No German metro area is found here:
- Paris: +0.90%
- Lyon: +0.78%
- Lille: +0.77%
- Rennes: +0.69%
- Toulouse: +0.66%
- Nantes: +0.65%
- Orléans: +0.64%

All the large German metro areas are found among the French metro areas with the worst rates of natural change:
METROPOLITAN FRANCE: +0.36%
- Metz: +0.35%
- Douai-Lens: +0.33%
- Nancy: +0.33%
- Clermont-Ferrand: +0.29%
- Munich: +0.20%
- Perpignan: +0.16%
- Nice: +0.13%
- La Rochelle: +0.09%
- Béziers: +0.09%
- Berlin: +0.02%
- Toulon: -0.00%
- Stuttgart: -0.02%
- Bayonne: -0.04%
- Rhine-Main: -0.04%
- Hamburg: -0.10%
GERMANY: -0.24%
- Rhine-Ruhr: -0.30%


The rate of natural change shows what the population growth would be if net migration was 0 (as many people leaving as coming). With 0 net migration, the Rhine-Ruhr would have declined by 0.30% in 2012.

What's interesting here is the fact that despite having pretty bad rates of natural change, the large German metro areas are still doing better than the national average, pretty much like what's happening in France. It means that in Germany as in France, the large metro areas attract the young people and repulse the old people, and that the rest of the country is older and dying more.

The Rhine-Ruhr has a unique combination of the worst natural change and the biggest (as of 2014) net migration. It's the exact opposite of Paris.
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