THE LEGACY OF COMMUNISM--EAST GERMANY IS FACING A DEMOGRAPHIC CRISIS
From Buzzle: Eastern Germany is facing a demographic crisis as huge numbers of women abandon the former communist region leaving behind an underclass of poorly educated, jobless and disillusioned men.
The population imbalance in the former communist state is worse than anywhere else in Europe, social scientists say. Even communities that traditionally have more men than women - such as the polar regions of Sweden and Finland, or the majority of remote Greek islands - do not have such pronounced male surpluses, according to a study by the Berlin Institute for Population and Development.
The study, Too Many Men, paints a bleak picture of young, partner-less men in the region; for every 100 men aged 25 to 30, there are just 80 women. Hundreds of thousands of eastern Germans of both sexes have left the former GDR in search of work in western Germany or abroad. But the exodus of young females (400,000 in the age range 18-29 since 1991) is believed to have more to do with the fact they are better educated than men and set on improved opportunities away from the rather depressed climate at home.
"The clever girls ... are leaving the east German working-class boys behind," said Reiner Klingholz, head of the Institute for Population. "In the west, many women look for their intellectual equal as a partner. As a result, most do not return."
The most dramatic effect of the imbalance was the growth of a "new, male-dominated underclass," said Mr Klingholz. Its members often have little chance either of finding a job or a partner, and as a result they are typically drawn to far-right parties, such as the German Nationalists (NPD) or to neo-Nazi groups. The proportion of eastern German women with degrees is 31%, compared to 20% of men.
A substantial number of men have nevertheless also left - 270,000 since 1991 - but a much higher percentage return, more often than not because they are disappointed by the experience, having failed to find a job and make social contacts.
The development is leading to social erosion on a large scale, according to the report, and is set to have an even more dramatic effect in the future. It is estimated that between 1995 and 2005, around 100,000 fewer babies were born in the region than would have been the case if the imbalance had not existed.