▷ HWWI / Berenberg city ranking: Berlin is the new front runner – 3 cities in the east …

07.11.2019 – 12:00


HWWI / Berenberg city ranking: Berlin is the new front runner - 3 cities in eastern Germany among the top 10

Hamburg (ots)

   - Berlin verdrängt München (3) von Platz 1
   - Leipzig behauptet sich auf Platz 2, Dresden kommt auf Platz 7
   - Augsburg (8) und Wuppertal (14) sind die größten Aufsteiger
   - "Rote Laterne" geht wieder an Gelsenkirchen 

The HWWI / Berenberg city ranking has a new number one: Berlin is at the top of the 30 largest cities in Germany for the first time. This means that three large cities in eastern Germany can hold their own in the top 10: Leipzig again takes second place in the overall ranking, Dresden comes in seventh place. The first limits to growth are showing in Munich: The Bavarian capital is no longer growing as dynamically as in the past and slipping to third place.

For the sixth time, the Hamburg World Economic Institute (HWWI) and the private bank Berenberg have examined the competitiveness of the 30 largest cities in Germany. “Germany’s future viability depends to a large extent on the economic and demographic developments in its large cities. This is where our country’s economic activities are concentrated, and here the growth of entire regions is accelerated and driven,” says Dr. Hans-Walter Peters, spokesman for the personally liable partners of Berenberg. “It is gratifying to see that the largest cities in eastern Germany, Leipzig and Dresden and especially Berlin, have managed to position themselves at the top of the German cities comparison and have good future prospects 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.”

The importance of cities as living and economic areas continues to grow. 23% of the German population currently live in the 30 largest cities. Here productivity and population are growing faster than the national average.

The cities are examined with regard to their current economic performance (trend index), their future demographic developments (demographic index) and essential location factors such as education, innovation, internationality and accessibility (location index). Since the educational level of the urban population is high and universities and research institutions are predominantly located in urban centers, companies in knowledge-intensive sectors can fall back on an extensive range of qualified workers here. “Regional metropolitan areas increase the exchange as well as the division of labor and specialization in the knowledge economy, which has a positive effect on the development of cities,” says HWWI director Prof. Dr. Henning Vöpel.

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After a fifth place in 2017, Berlin made it to the top of the 30 largest cities. The capital scores with a high percentage increase in population (+4.1%), the highest growth in employment of all 30 cities (+6.8%) and a significant improvement in productivity. “Berlin has developed into one of the most dynamic cities in Germany. Good location factors, especially internationality and accessibility, contribute to the positive development,” says Peters. The future prospects for the capital are excellent: By 2030, a further high percentage increase in the population and a further absolute increase in the labor force (+101,000) are expected. The population under the age of 20 will also develop above average in Berlin. “Since skilled workers can become the decisive bottleneck factor in the competition for the settlement of companies, the future competitiveness of a city will increasingly be determined by developments in the working-age population,” says Vöpel.

Leipzig holds its own in second place and just misses the win. No other city has been able to improve its economic performance so dynamically in recent years as the largest city in Saxony. At just under 7%, it also recorded the largest population growth of all 30 cities in recent years. And this trend will continue, because Leipzig is right at the fore in the population forecasts up to 2030, especially among the under 20s and the labor force. The excellent developments in the trend and demographic index in Leipzig are so high in comparison that the poorer performance in the location index has been overcompensated for years. “The below-average location factors of education and innovation, internationality and accessibility in Leipzig have significant upward development potential,” said Vöpel.

Munich loses its top position (2017 and 2015) and slips from first to third in the overall ranking. The first limits to growth are becoming noticeable in the Bavarian capital. For the metropolis, which has grown strongly in recent years and has the highest productivity level of all cities, further rates of increase are much more difficult to achieve than for Berlin and Leipzig, whose productivity levels are 30% to 40% below that of Munich. In spite of all this, the economic future prospects of the Bavarian capital are still bright. “Munich is very well positioned, not least because of the proportion of highly qualified workers and knowledge-intensive industries,” said Vöpel.

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Frankfurt am Main ranks 4th in this year’s overall ranking. When it comes to location factors, the Main metropolis can just about defend its lead over Munich and is at the top for the sixth time in a row. “Frankfurt scored particularly well in terms of the proportion of academically trained employees, a high level of internationality and good accessibility. In addition, the demographic forecasts for population development, especially among the under 20s and the labor force, are excellent for the banking metropolis”, explains Peters.

Good future prospects are also opening up for Cologne (5th place) and Hamburg (6th place), as they offer balanced conditions for companies and people in all areas. “These cities do not reveal any major weaknesses and have been largely consistent in the rankings for years,” says Peters.

Wuppertal (14th place) and Augsburg (8th place) are the biggest climbers and jump up eleven and ten places respectively compared to the 2017 ranking. For the first time, Wuppertal was able to place itself in the top half of the overall index thanks to a very positive development in productivity and employment, high fertility rates (birth rate) and a positive forecast for the development of the population under 20 years of age. In Augsburg, the jump into the top 10 in the overall index is due in particular to significantly improved demographic forecasts.

Wiesbaden (minus nine ranks) as well as Braunschweig and Bielefeld (each minus six ranks) had to accept higher gradations compared to the previous ranking. Wiesbaden lost in all three indices. Braunschweig’s decline is based on losses in the demographic and location index, while Bielefeld was rated significantly lower in both the demographic and trend index.

In the lower third of the field, Mönchengladbach (22nd place) and Chemnitz (26th place) are developing well and are four and three places higher than two years ago. As in the previous ranking, Gelsenkirchen (30th place) is in last place.

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“Many of the 30 large cities are very well armed, others are significantly worse prepared for the challenges of the future. Those cities that offer the population and companies excellent location conditions and successfully carry out the structural change towards the knowledge economy have positive future prospects”, summarizes Peters. “It is gratifying that the development paths of the cities that are at the bottom of the ranking and show deficits have for the first time aligned slightly with the successfully developing cities at the top. The gap between the leader and the bottom has increased compared to the last ranking slightly reduced. ”


Population: Berlin is the largest city with 3.6 million inhabitants, Aachen and Chemnitz are the smallest cities in the ranking with around 246,000 inhabitants.

Location: Only four of the largest cities examined in the city ranking are in East Germany, while 13 cities are represented from North Rhine-Westphalia alone.

Population growth: The highest percentage increases in the past three years were achieved in Leipzig (+6.9%), Augsburg (+4.2%), Berlin and Frankfurt am Main (+4.1%) and Karlsruhe (+4.0%) ). The largest absolute increases (2014-2017) were recorded in Berlin (+143,646), Hamburg (+67,793), Leipzig (+37,501) and Cologne (+33,714).

Population density: In Munich, with 4,686 inhabitants per square kilometer, four and a half as many people live in one square kilometer as in Münster (1,034). Berlin recorded the highest density in the last two years with an increase of +107 inhabitants per square kilometer (+2.7%). In Bremen and Leipzig, too, the number of inhabitants per square kilometer rose sharply by +78 (+4.6%) and +72 (+3.8%), respectively, while in Munich it only rose by +18 (+0.4%) %) grew.

The ranking is available for download at

You can find the press release at:

Press contact:

Contact person Berenberg:
Karsten Wehmeier
Corporate Communications Director
Telephone +49 40 350 60-481
[email protected]

Sandra Hülsmann
Press officer
Phone +49 40 350 60-8357
[email protected]

Contact person at the HWWI:
Dörte Nitt-Drießelmann
Senior Researcher
Phone +49 40 340 576-664
[email protected]

Dr. Jan Wedemeier
Head of “Economy of Cities and Regions”
Phone +49 40 340 576-663
[email protected]

Original content by: Berenberg, transmitted by news aktuell