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Urban Quality of Life

German cities do very well in the urban quality-of-life rankings. More and more people are now wanting to live in an urban environment.
Basketball in der Stadt
© Syda Productions/

Good jobs, a clean environment, low crime rates, lots of leisure-time and cultural attractions, good transport links: German cities frequently boast precisely these features. In a 2019 study aimed at evaluating the quality of life in 231 large cities conducted by the Mercer consulting firm, six German cities place in the top 25. With Munich (3rd place), Düsseldorf (6), and Frankfurt am Main (7), three actually make the top ten. Berlin Berlin Once a year, during the Berlinale film festival, the world of the silver screen focuses its attention on Berlin. And the city’s inhabitants are used to global interest. After all, the people of Berlin have lived in a capital city since 1458. However, there is also a shady side to the city’s history… Read more › (13), Hamburg Hamburg In the city and state of Hamburg it is the port that is the power-house of the economy, though with Airbus, Otto Versand and Beiersdorf also located here, this is not immediately apparent. The tanker terminals, mean that almost all the major oil-refining companies are represented in the port. For… Read more › (19) and Nuremberg (23) are also well up the list.

In Germany there are 81 large cities (more than 100,000 inhabitants) and 621 medium-sized cities with between 20,000 and 99,999 inhabitants; three quarters of people now live in cities. Experts are discussing, however, whether the strong trend towards urban homes might at least be temporarily curbed by the Corona pandemic. The new flexible possibilities for working may mean that for many people it is increasingly less important to live close to their place of work.

Preserving social diversity in the housing market

The demand for urban living space has led to a sharp rise in rents in the case of first-time lets, and in the price of real estate. With regard to home ownership rates within the OECD, Germany comes second from last. Forty-seven percent of households live in their own four walls. The majority opt for rented accommodation, which has trad­itionally always been preferred. Almost 13 percent of people view the cost of living as a “heavy financial burden”. On average, such costs absorb 26 percent of monthly incomes. For this reason the Federal Government Federal Government The Federal Government and cabinet is made up of the Federal Chancellor and the Federal Ministers. While the Chancellor holds the power to issue directives, the ministers have departmental powers, meaning that they independently run their respective ministries in the framework of those directives… Read more › has paved the way for rent caps aimed at preserving social diversity in regions where the housing market is under pressure. In the event of a change in tenant, new rents – with some exceptions – are capped at a max. ten percent higher than for a comparable flat. During the Corona pandemic, the Federal Government protected tenants from eviction due to late payments.

In 2018 the Federal Government set itself the goal of building 1.5 million new flats and houses in the context of a “housing offensive” and allocated two billion euros for social housing construction. Moreover, families now receive a state subsidy when buying their own home.