In 1950 there were 69 million residents in the two states, that is more or less the same as at the beginning of the Second World War, which however had led to a general aging of the population and a strong disparity between males and females, with direct consequences on natural increase. However, by 1960 the population had already grown considerably and reached 72 million residents. The most sensational democratic revolution in all of Eastern Europe of which East Germany was a protagonist in 1989 not only brought radical changes in the political-social landscape of the country, but also had repercussions in the demographic field. In fact, at the time of the reopening of the borders there was an East-West movement of considerable size, which however rapidly diminished, so today it is very difficult to make forecasts relating to population variations and displacements within the state in the near future. The natural increase of the population, despite the phenomenon of immigration, is now negative (-0.1% between 2005 and 2010). Since 1 January 2000, the law has been in force according to which German-borns are automatically considered German if one of the parents has resided in the State for at least eight years: in this way the country will be able to make the most dynamic component of the budget its own. demographic.
According to iamhigher, the average population density is 225 residents / km², almost triple the European average. The distribution of the residents had registered a partial escape from the cities destroyed by bombing immediately after the war, and also the Schleswig-Holstein for example, it recorded an increase of over 60% compared to the pre-war period). This phenomenon, however, soon returned with regard to West Germany, whose cities were rapidly rebuilt and registered, starting from the 1950s, an impressive economic and commercial development; while in the eastern area the communist settlement plan has systematically favored the areas of greater industrial and rural development to the detriment of traditional urban centers. Following the unification, the central government intervened on these settlements by reconverting or dismantling them, and by relaunching cities with a glorious past such as Leipzig, Dresden and Magdeburg. In this way the primacy of urbanization has been completely restored, with 74% of the population (2012) living in the cities of the country.
The historical Germanic polycentrism has contributed to the formation of numerous almost self-sufficient metropolitan areas, built around the most important urban centers and the links existing between these and the main surrounding productive and rural areas. Of these, the most important is certainly the one born around Ruhr basin, along the Rhine valley. It was formed in the industrial age around the carboniferous basin of the same name, eventually forming one of the largest and most densely populated conurbations in the world. The centers of Duisburg, the largest river port on the Rhine, Düsseldorf, the large cities E of the river, such as Essen, Bochum, Gelsenkirchen, Dortmund etc., which together host approx. 8 million residents. But the whole of North Rhine is highly populated and the density of the vast Land that it forms together with Westphalia is 515 residents / km², with 17,554,329 residents. Other metropolitan areas of the country are that around Frankfurt am Main, together with Mainz, Darmstadt, Wiesbaden; those around Stuttgart, Munich, Hamburg. To the east, the densest area is Upper Saxony in the Dresden-Leipzig-Zwickau triangle, where numerous industries are concentrated; while in the not very populated plains of Brandenburg Berlin is an exception, which already at the beginning of the twentieth century was a “millionaire” city, and today is at the center of a metropolitan area that is home to more than 4 million residents. Between the two sections that form the current Land the one with the highest concentration of large cities is the western part, where even before the war there was the greatest grouping of industrial activities. Among the least populated areas are certainly the coastal plains of Tiefland, especially the more eastern ones (the corresponding Land of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has a density of just 69 residents / km²), and some areas of Saxony and Bavaria. Numerous German cities have structures of medieval origin (with a classical layout, with the central Marktplatz, overlooked by the town hall, Rathaus, a church and other historic buildings with a typical “half-timbered” structure) or even earlier, which have become the nucleus of centers that have grown in the modern era, and particularly since the years of great industrial expansion. Cities in general have suffered serious devastation during the last war and only in a few cases have they restored their original face; normally the reconstruction has instead preferred more modern building modules in accordance with the production needs of its residents. In this way the cities have lost in many cases the traditional aspect, but they have a relatively functional urban planning. The medieval core has somehow been respected, with the cathedral in the center; the modern aggregate expands towards the industrial districts, although many of the production areas are also very far from the centers. Overall, despite industrialization and high human densities, there has been some conservation of the landscape. The urban configuration of the former West Germany is very complex. There is no city that assumes an absolutely primary hierarchical position in the national fabric; while the various metropolises play specific roles, as in the case of Hamburg, the largest port in the country, or like Frankfurt am Main, the first financial center, etc.
The industrial cities are concentrated along the axis of the Rhine, but similar economic “vocations” are also found in cities very far from the Rhine belt, such as Munich, the summit of Bavaria, and Hanover, the main center in the welding belt among the first reliefs of the Middle Mountains and the Saxon plains. After Berlin, the most populous city is Hamburg, already a thriving Hanseatic port, magnificently arranged at the beginning of the Elbe estuary. Bremen is also an important port city, on the Weser estuary, a communications hub between the Nordic ports and the Rhine area; here is Cologne, a city of very ancient origins that has never lost its role as a great commercial and industrial center. Further south, still on the Rhine, there are Mainz, Darmstadt, Mannheim, Karlsruhe; the Rhenish belt is dominated by populous side basins, including in the first place that of the Main, which hosts the dynamic and very important Frankfurt, and that of the Neckar, where Stuttgart is, a very lively industrial city with a priority role in the context of Baden- Württemberg. Munich, the capital of Bavaria, is favored by its position on important communication routes and rich in industries. Also in a key position for the communication routes is Nuremberg, of noble and ancient traditions, located further north, in the center of Franconia, and developed for its commercial openings. As already mentioned, with the unification a vast urban recovery program was inaugurated in the former East Germany. The gloomy communist-era residential complexes have been renovated and embellished and new public and private buildings have been built to house the new commercial activities.