YouGov poll Berlin not Germans favorite metropolis but good as

YouGov poll: Berlin not Germans’ favorite metropolis but good as a capital Tagesspiegel

Berlin as a capital is fine – but living there? No thank you! This is how the results of a representative poll by the polling institute YouGov on behalf of the German news agency can be interpreted. Real or perceived cosmopolitan talent is not important to many Germans. Small towns and villages are also ideal, especially for children and retirees. But first things first.

Of the five German-speaking cities with more than a million inhabitants, adults in Germany clearly have a favorite metropolis, namely Hamburg – the second-largest city in the Federal Republic is “the friendliest” (25 percent), according to with a search. Just then follow Munich (19%), Vienna (15%), Berlin (12%) and Cologne (11%). The rest didn’t want to choose any of the cities.

The Tagesspiegel app Current news, background information and analysis directly on your smartphone. Plus the digital newspaper. Download here for free.

When people are asked which of Germany’s ten biggest cities they would most like to live in, nearly a third (31 percent) say: In none of these cities. After all, 16% say Hamburg or Munich, 10% Berlin, 6% Cologne and 5% Leipzig. Far behind are Frankfurt/Main, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Dortmund and Essen.

Of the five German-speaking cities with more than a million inhabitants, adults in Germany have a favorite metropolis: Hamburg. Of the five German-speaking cities with more than a million inhabitants, adults in Germany have a favorite metropolis: Hamburg. © dpa/Jonas Walzberg

Unlike France or Austria, for example, the difference between metropolis and province in Germany is smaller – because of the federal structure with 16 state capitals and other important metropolises like Cologne, Frankfurt, Leipzig, or Nuremberg, Mannheim, Bonn and others.

However, there is an imbalance between the city and the countryside – for example, in the presence of the media. In densely populated Germany, on the other hand, it is often not so easy to tell where the city ends and where the so-called country begins.

Villages and smaller towns on the outskirts of big cities are generally doing very well, but elsewhere entire regions are suffering from rural exodus, especially in eastern Germany.

Most popular capital in the east

In the east, the capital Berlin, which is located there, is more popular than in the west. When asked “Are you happy that Berlin is the capital of Germany?” 75 percent in the East answered yes (in the West 66) – a total of 68 percent. Berlin’s approval rating as a capital is below average in Bavaria, Bremen and North Rhine-Westphalia, for example.

Possibly all this is due to a secular mindset. As is known, German history is that of a “backward nation” (sociologist Helmuth Plessner). For a long time, Germany was fragmented into small states, so it had many small centers.

Austria is the friendliest neighboring country

It was the Prussian politician Otto von Bismarck who formed the German national state as a solution called Kleindeutsch, that is, without Austria, with “iron and blood” – after victories in the wars against Denmark (1864), Austria (1866) and France (1870/71).

Every morning from 6am, editor-in-chief Lorenz Maroldt and his team report on Berlin’s trials and tribulations in the Tagesspiegel newsletter, Checkpoint. Register here for free.

Speaking of Austria: According to a survey, the Alpine republic is the most pleasant country among Germany’s neighbors for German citizens. The country was chosen among the nine neighbors by 22% of those over 18 years old. The Netherlands, Denmark, France and Switzerland follow.

After the terrible upheavals of National Socialism, Germany (at least in the West), which had been pacified by the Allies, re-established itself as a confederation of states, so to speak – as a Federal Republic of Germany. A year after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, it was joined by the states that had been re-established in East Germany.

Federalism is still loved and cherished today, but also rejected and sometimes perceived as an irritating patchwork quilt. Recently, for example, it has shown its complicated side in the corona pandemic with various regulations from the federal states.


Percent of respondents believe that a child in Germany should ideally grow up in a small town or village.

However, in Germany, the widespread pride in life in small units, in everyday life beyond the big city – and this also applies to regions that are not federal states, do not form their own state, such as Swabia and Franconia.

Perhaps this is also where the romantic notion of regional roots comes from, the German love of country life.

Where should a child grow up?

When asked “Where do you think a child in Germany should ideally grow up?” 57% chose the answers “small town” and “village”. Only ten percent prefer the big city (more than 100,000 inhabitants).

Berlin and its peculiarities

Always on the lookout What’s left of the myth of Berlin The exclusive 2023 retrospective This is how the New Year was in Berlin Singing on the bike Berliners sing at the top of their lungs on the move

And not only for childhood, but also for old age, most people prefer the countryside or the small town. When it comes to choosing where to live in retirement, 58 percent say they’d like to move to a place with fewer than 20,000 people – 26 percent say “small town (5,000 to 20,000 people)” and at least 32 percent “In a rural/village area (less than 5000 inhabitants).” The figure for the big city is only 16%.

The data used are based on an online survey by YouGov on behalf of the German Press Agency (dpa), in which 2,048 people participated between 7 and 9 December 2022. (dpa)

to the homepage