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On the path to unity

How well has Germany grown together since reunification 27 years ago? Important facts and figures.

The Day of German Unity is celebrated on 3 October.
The Day of German Unity is celebrated on 3 October. © Andreas Pollok/Getty Images

Germany. Germany has now been reunited for 27 years. On the one hand, that is a long time; on the other, however, it is very little for such an enormous transformation process. Every year the Federal Government publishes a report on the status of German unity. We present an overview of its most important findings.

What is the employment situation?

The number of unemployed has continued to fall in Germany. In 2016, approximately 8.5% of the people in eastern Germany did not have a job, compared to 5.6% in western Germany. The unemployment rate in the eastern German states has fallen by over 10 percentage points since its peak in 2005.

Are people paid the same in east and west?

That is the case in the industries where a collective pay agreement applies. There you will find only minor differences. In sectors without collective agreements, however, employees in eastern Germany continue to receive lower pay than their counterparts in western Germany.

Do the positive trends mean that things are generally better in the regions of eastern Germany than there were a few years ago?

Not necessarily. Although they have caught up in economic terms, most areas of the new states continue to be counted among the so-called structurally weak regions. Gross domestic product per capita in 2016 was only 73% of that in western Germany. After reunification fewer large industrial plants or corporate headquarters located in eastern Germany. That is impeding economic growth.

Looking beyond the economic indicators, are people in eastern Germany satisfied?

According to surveys, citizens in both eastern and western Germany are now more satisfied than they have been since reunification. In eastern Germany satisfaction has increased substantially – above all, in the last ten years – but it is not yet quite as high as in western Germany. Furthermore, many young eastern Germans lack prospects in their home regions. They are thinking about moving to economically stronger regions or have already taken this step.