The Berlin Wall had pretty strong effects on the German states at the time it was built, and right after it fell, but what are its continuing economic effects on contemporary Germany? I know there are some cultural differences between East and West Germany, and that East Germany has higher unemployment, but beyond that, what did the Berlin Wall obviously change economically? What are the economic differences between East and West Germany today because of the Berlin Wall?

In this question I'm most specifically asking about the wall that separated and surrounded Berlin, however, since this wall also was part of the larger network of wall separating East and West Germany, I understand that the two walls would probably both play into the answer.

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    Are you asking about the real constructed wall of bricks and mortar, or is that metaphorical for the whole iron curtain? – nvoigt Nov 13 '15 at 13:42
  • Just to clarify on @nvoigt's question, the Berlin Wall was a wall surrounding West Berlin, which was a West German enclave entirely surrounded by East German territory. There was still a rather long border between the two states, separate from that wall. However, it is sometimes used metaphorically to signify that entire border. It looks like you are using that way? – T.E.D. Nov 13 '15 at 14:02
  • @nvoigt edited to clarify. – DonyorM Nov 13 '15 at 14:09
  • Every time I think about how to craft an answer it either gets short to the point of unusable or way too broad and detailed. Can you specify your question? What exactly are you looking for? Would a slightly more eloquent version of "not much" be a valid answer? – nvoigt Nov 13 '15 at 14:27
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    A Bit pf Pedantry here: the Berlin wall was not "completely surrounded by East German territory. When it was built, there were four sectors of control of Berlin: American, British, French and Soviet. The wall surrounded the American, Brit and French sectors and separated them from both the Soviet sector of Berlin and the greater (Soviet-controlled) East Germany. – CGCampbell Nov 13 '15 at 22:50

The Berlin Wall was brought down in 1989. Before, the GDR (eastern part of Germany) had been a communist satellite state and when it collapsed, it was almost bankrupt. Both German states reunified. Unified Germany poured nearly 2 Trillion € into the reconstruction of it's eastern states.

25 years later, there is still a difference between the former FRG and GDR parts of Germany. It's not as bad as it was, but you can still see it in the statistics.

If you want to look into it, 2014, as the 25 year anniversary, produced a lot of comparisons, statistics and videos for all aspects of life.

Most statistics will list "Germany" as a whole, as well as "Früheres Bundesgebiet" or "Alte Länder" (former FRG territory/old states) and "Neue Länder" (new states, former GDR territory).

Some notable economic numbers:

  • Unemployment rate is 6% overall, with the West at 5.5% and the East at 8.6%

  • Monthly average income is 3527€ overall, with the west at 3652€ and the east at 2760€

If you understand German, a lot of information can be found at Statistisches Bundesamt.

The differences are slowly getting less, with some other distinctions (for example rural areas vs cities) already having a larger impact on the economic numbers.

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  • Those are some good statistics, are there any others you found specifically showing the differences between East and West Germany? – DonyorM Nov 13 '15 at 16:51
  • The statistics office mentioned has most statistics using three columns: Germany, East and West. destatis.de/EN/Homepage.html – nvoigt Nov 13 '15 at 17:42

There is a jumble of minor and not so minor differences.

  • In addition to the income difference mentioned by nvoigt, there is a difference in pensions.
  • A larger fraction of power comes from lignite. Two of three major regions are in the east, one is in the west.
  • Different voting patterns leading to different economic policies. Die Linke, a leftist party descended from the communist SED, is much stronger in the east. The social-democrat SPD is stronger in the west. At the same time, nazi parties are also much stronger in the east, but they are not in a position to set policy.
  • Different numbers of immigrants and their immediate descendants. There are considerably more in the west.
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