Shortage of women in eastern Germany good for neo-Nazis

MICHAEL URBAN/AFP In eastern Germany, young women are moving west, while young men are moving right. And that might be good … if you’re a neo-Nazi. Since 1991, 1.5 million former East Germans—about 10 percent of the region’s population at the time the Berlin Wall fell—have left. Many of those relocating to the west have been well-educated people under ...

601531_070601_neonazi_05.jpg
601531_070601_neonazi_05.jpg

MICHAEL URBAN/AFP

In eastern Germany, young women are moving west, while young men are moving right. And that might be good … if you're a neo-Nazi.

Since 1991, 1.5 million former East Germans—about 10 percent of the region's population at the time the Berlin Wall fell—have left. Many of those relocating to the west have been well-educated people under 35 who are seeking better economic opportunities. But now, there's a new wrinkle to the statistics. Around two thirds of those who have abandoned eastern Germany since 1991 have been women, according to a recent study (pdf) by the Berlin Institute for Population and Development. In some regions, the ratio of women to men in the 18-29 age group is less than 82:100.

MICHAEL URBAN/AFP

In eastern Germany, young women are moving west, while young men are moving right. And that might be good … if you’re a neo-Nazi.

Since 1991, 1.5 million former East Germans—about 10 percent of the region’s population at the time the Berlin Wall fell—have left. Many of those relocating to the west have been well-educated people under 35 who are seeking better economic opportunities. But now, there’s a new wrinkle to the statistics. Around two thirds of those who have abandoned eastern Germany since 1991 have been women, according to a recent study (pdf) by the Berlin Institute for Population and Development. In some regions, the ratio of women to men in the 18-29 age group is less than 82:100.

Young women in eastern Germany tend to be better educated than the young men there, so they have an easier time finding work in the west. But when women migrate, they leave behind an underclass of poorly educated, unemployed, frustrated men who are ripe for recruitment by surging neo-Nazis. In the state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, the neo-Nazi party NPD received 7.3 percent of the vote, and the party now has seats in three German state parliaments, all of which are in the east.

And the young men of eastern Germany aren’t alone. Testosterone time bombs are ticking around the world, including in the Middle East, China, and India. Somebody had better figure out what to do with all of these angry guys, and fast.

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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