We are getting fewer and we are getting older. This is the basic tenor of demographic change. Aging affects everyone, but the decrease in the population is distributed quite unevenly. This is confirmed by the calculations of the State Office for Statistics published last week.
According to these, the number of inhabitants in Upper Bavaria is expected to increase by as much as 6.5 percent over the next 20 years, while Upper Franconia will bring up the rear in Bavaria and lose almost a tenth of its population (9.3 percent). But even this statement is still very sweeping. If one compares the calculations of the State Statistical Office or the forecasts of various institutes, it becomes clear that even within Upper Franconia the range is quite large.
The city of Bamberg, for example, is even predicted to have a growth potential of almost two percent by the year 2030. And a minus of three percent for the district of Bamberg is still the second best value in the administrative district. Compared to the impending population losses of, for example, 10.2 percent (entire administrative district), 10.9 percent (Bayreuth district), 16.8 percent (Kronach district) or even 20.2 percent (Wunsiedel district), this is an almost stable situation.
Only the elderly are becoming more numerous
However, none of the 36 municipal leaders in the district can rest easy. On the one hand, the change takes place even with a relatively stable population. In particular, as far as the age pyramid is concerned. According to the statistics, the number of people over 65 will increase by more than half, while all younger age groups will shrink.
Above all, however, there will also be great differences between the individual municipalities in the district as far as their population is concerned. This is shown, for example, in a study by the Modus Institute in Bamberg, which was first commissioned by the district in 2007 and revised in 2009. In this study, the population researchers took a detailed look at the individual district municipalities and calculated small-scale projections in each of three variants with different preconditions.
For the entire district, for example, the range extends from 132,300 inhabitants to 139,500 and 147,100 inhabitants in 2029. The mean value (variant 2) of the “Institute for Applied Economic and Social Research, Methods and Analyses” mode is therefore quite close to the calculations of the State Office for Statistics and Data Processing.
Slumps at the edges
A look at individual results is particularly interesting. Shrinking communities on the Jura Mountains and on the edges of the district in the Steigerwald and Hassberg Mountains are not a new phenomenon. Just like boomtowns in Bamberg’s Speckgurtel and in the Regnitztal valley. So far, however, this has been almost exclusively due to economic development. However, demographic change seems to be exacerbating this.
For example, the Modus study expects Burgwindheim to lose almost a quarter of its population by 2029 in the worst-case scenario. The middle variant still sees a decline of 14 percent – and only under the most favorable conditions does the decline remain at just under three percent. The forecast for the neighboring town of Ebrach is similarly unfavorable (-18.6/11.7/-5.4 percent). Stadelhofen (-17.2/-8.1/+0.1 percent) is also severely affected, while the outlook for Konigsfeld and Wattendorf, already the smallest municipality in the district, as well as for Gerach and Reckendorf, is only marginally more favorable. even relatively central large communities such as Memmelsdorf or Litzendorf have to reckon with a decline in the double-digit percentage range according to Modus.
According to the Modus Institute’s most unfavorable variant 1, there are no winners in the district in terms of population size in 2029. But Burgeb rach (-1.4) Breitengubbach (- 2.1) and Lisberg (-2.7 percent), may also be considered relatively stable in this case. In the middle variant, as many as eight communities could gain, with Pettstadt leading the way with a 4.5 percent increase, followed by Breitengubbach (4.2) and Altendorf (3.1).
In variant 3, however, in which the Bamberg researchers assume constant economic growth of two percent annually, a two-and-a-half-year increase in life expectancy (2029 compared to 2009), rising immigration and even a significant increase in the birth rate, almost all municipalities would then be in the black. Lisberg (18.0 percent), Pettstadt (13.3), Breitengubbach (11.6) and Altendorf (10.8) could then even grow by double digits.
No matter which variant will come closest to the real development. All three have one thing in common. The gap between growth areas and gradually depopulating regions is almost as wide in the Bamberg district as it is within Upper Franconia or Bavaria.
Further documents, such as the demographic report of the Bertelsmann Foundation, can be found on the website of the Bamberg district.