Immigrants from Germany and abroad can contribute to the economic stabilisation of rural areas in Saxony-Anhalt. However, their number is not sufficient to cope with the consequences of demographic change in the federal state. This is the conclusion of a study carried out by the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography for the state government of Saxony-Anhalt.
Compared to other federal states, Saxony-Anhalt is particularly affected by demographic change and the negative consequences of a shrinking and ageing population for economic development. Managed immigration, combined with measures to limit emigration and strengthen return migration, can activate potential for sustainable state and regional development. This is shown in a study carried out by the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography for the state government of Saxony-Anhalt.
The authors of the 140-page report "Potentials of controlled immigration for sustainable state development in Saxony-Anhalt" warn at the same time against too great expectations. Project manager Dr Tim Leibert: "Saxony-Anhalt is in global competition for the best brains, and immigrants also tend to avoid structurally weak rural regions without ethnic networks". Immigration potential is definitely available in Saxony-Anhalt. However, the number of immigrants is not sufficient to cushion the demographic change.
In order to make the rural areas of Saxony-Anhalt more attractive for locals and newcomers, the IfL researchers recommend the establishment of a broadly understood culture of welcome, a strengthening of local self-administration and an overall package of support, retention and integration. "In this overall package, strategies against xenophobia and racism must play a central role," emphasizes Verena Ott, co-author of the IfL study. A "change of perspective in speaking about rural areas" is also important. Instead of bringing deficiencies to the fore, opportunities must be communicated.
The IfL study provides a comprehensive analysis of the population development and structure of Saxony-Anhalt as well as migration patterns at the community level. The resulting guidance are also based on findings from interviews with experts, local actors and more than 70 young people.
After its final consultation in the state parliament of Saxony-Anhalt, the study is now available for free download:
- Dr Tim Leibert, t_leibert(at)leibniz-ifl.de
- Verena Ott, v_ott(at)leibniz-ifl.de