1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites
Cars and Transportation

More Germans commute to work every day

July 31, 2017

The number of commuters in Germany has reached new record numbers. A government study found that housing costs in inner cities are increasingly forcing people further out.

Deutschland Sturmtief Egon Autobahn 4 bei Gummersbach
Image: picture alliance/dpa/M. Becker

Almost 60 percent of all people in employment in Germany identified as commuters, hitting a new record number. Germany's Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR) announced a significant rise of 0.2 percent in commuter numbers, reaching to a total of 18.4 million active commuters.

Among the reasons cited for the marked increase in commuter numbers people mentioned rising housing costs in city centers. An overall rise in employment numbers was also part of the reason for the trend.

Munich reportedly has the highest number of commuters, with 365,000 people in total travelling daily for work purposes, followed by Frankfurt. More than 1.3 million Germans meanwhile identified as long-distance commuters, travelling over 150 kilometers (93 miles) routinely for work.

Read more: Japan to test-drive teleworking ahead of 2020 Olympics

The study did not take commuters into consideration who work on a highly limited part-time basis.

East-west divide

Left Party MP Sabine Zimmermann stressed that there still was a continuing tendency among residents of the federal states in eastern Germany to commute into the west for work, highlighting a leftover trend from the aftermath of German reunification in 1990, when the former Communist states in the east where incorporated into the west's federal structures.

Read more: High earners lead less eco-friendly lives

The most recent numbers reported from the so-called "east states" surpassed 400,000 commuters embarking on daily journeys into western states - nearly 100,000 up from 1999.

Meanwhile, only 158,000 residents of "west states" commuted the opposite direction, according to BBSR. However, the number of commuters heading east had at least more than doubled compared to corresponding numbers from 1999.

Longer distances to travel

In addition to the increase in commuter numbers the average distance of the typical daily commute in Germany had also notably surged, the report revealed. While in 1999, the average distance travelled each way for work purpose was 14.59 kilometers (9 miles) the corresponding number for 2017 was 16.91 kilometers (10.5 miles).

BBSR also stressed that in at least half of the states in eastern Germany, the average commute was more than twice as long compared to western Germany.

Read more: 'The future belongs to bicycles'

Flying cars take off


Sertan Sanderson Moderation
Sertan Sanderson DW journalist & human seeking to make sense of the world and understand what motivates other humansSertanSanderson