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    East German border guards look through a hole in the Berlin wall after demonstrators pulled down one segment of the wall at Brandenburg gate Saturday, November 11, 1989.

    Nation Still Split Twenty Five Years After Germany’s Reunification

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    A quarter of a century after the reunification of West Germany and East Germany, Berlin researchers discovered that striking differences between citizens in the two parts of the country still remain.

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    Scholars at the Berlin Institute for Population and Development published a report Wednesday showing that eastern and western regions of Germany in many ways still look like two different states.

    Differences between populations were studied across 25 spheres, from education to economics, consumer preferences to social practices, and residents from across Germany were interviewed for the study. Reiner Klingholz, director of the Berlin institute, noted that the differences they observed were “remarkably large.”

    "The results of the study surprised us," Klingholz said. "Now as then (in 1990) the two parts of Germany are astonishingly different."

    In terms of education, for instance, scholars observed that students from the East are stronger in disciplines like math and science. At the same time, however, school dropout rates in the East surpass those observed in the West.

    More than ten percent of students in Saxony-Anhalt and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, states in the country’s former East, leave schools without qualification.

    As far as immigration goes, researchers reported the former Communist states in the East see at least 5 percent fewer immigrants than the West. Study authors suggest that foreigners are typically attracted to wealthier regions, and western parts of Germany are leading in this sphere.

    The average salary in the East is around 2,800 euros ($3,061) per month, approximately a quarter smaller than in the West. That discrepancy affects residents’ lifestyles across Germany. For example, twice as many Germans in the West can afford luxury BMWs, while their counterparts from the East generally drive less expensive Skodas, originally from the Czech Republic, researchers noted. Further, property values in eastern cities like Dresden and Leipzig are two times lower than those in the West.

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    Social values also differed. Around a third of West Germans believe men should work full-time and woman should stay at home — that’s about twice as many as hold the same traditional view of gender roles in the East, where traditionally women went to work, Reuters reported.

    The authors pointed out that prejudices and stereotypes among Germans remain strong, recalling the time when the country was divided. Many in both the West and the East consider their neighbors to be “arrogant,” researchers said.

    "Reunification takes longer than one generation," Klingholz concluded. “Unity is not a political act of will but a long process.”

    Around 19 million Germans — slightly less than a quarter of the population — have been born since the reunification of the country, and the researchers estimated that share would ride to more than half by 2040, the 50th anniversary of reunification.


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