Which German cities and districts have the highest median salaries?

Which German cities and districts have the highest median salaries?

Last updated: 2022-09-03

In the article below, for the sake of simplicity, I use median salary/salaries , but I refer to the monthly gross median salary/salaries .

Introduction

The German government is quite transparent about pay statistics. Every year at the end of July, the Federal Statistical Office releases the preceding year's salary report. This study includes reliable pay figures for German employees. It is based on data from the German social security system, which means that actual salaries, reported by employers, are included in the assessment. The study includes information on the median salary, salary distribution, and other statistical indicators.

In the next article, I visualize the median salaries for cities and districts (Kreis) using an interactive map. This would show which German regions have the highest median salary.


An overview of the median salaries in different German cities and districts

The median salary in Germany varies substantially between cities and regions. Salaries are often higher in big cities such as Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Munich, and Hamburg, but lower in smaller cities and rural districts. There are, however, exceptions, such as the cities of Wolfsburg, Erlangen, or Emden. Although they are small to medium-sized communities, there is a strong industrial presence in the area, which raises the median salary beyond the national medium. As an example, Volkswagen has factories in Wolfsburg and Emden.

The following map shows the median salaries for different German cities and districts:

In general, it can be said that employees in southern Germany earn more than those in the north. The map also shows the clear division between East and West Germany. The median salary in West Germany is €3,625.5 , whereas it is €3,006.65 in East Germany, which represents a €620 difference. This is a clear indication of the economic disparities between the two regions. Despite being reunified for over 25 years, the gap between the east and west continues to persist. This is a major challenge for policymakers in Germany who are working to close the divide.

When looking at the individual city rankings, it becomes clear that employees in large cities or cities and districts with good proximity to a larger city, generally earn more than those in smaller towns.


Cities and regions with the top ten highest median salaries

The bar chart below shows the cities and regions in Germany with the top ten highest median salaries. These salaries are ranging from €5,091 in Erlangen to €4,564 in Darmstadt and they vary in size from large cities like Munich, which employs 636,267 full-time employees, to smaller cities like Erlangen, which employs just 59,787 full-time employees.

Whether you want to live in a major metropolis or a mid or small-sized city, there's certain to be a location on the below bar chart that's ideal for you.


Cities and regions with the ten lowest median salaries

The bar chart below shows the cities and regions in Germany with the ten lowest median salaries. These salaries are close to €2,500 , which is below by more than €1,000 the national median salary of €3,515.51 .

All ten cities and districts are in Eastern Germany and they are mid or small-sized cities or districts with less than 70,000 full-time employees.


Cities and regions compared to the German median salary

The map highlights cities and districts

  1. in red where the median salaries are higher than the national median salary of €3,515.51 ,
  2. and in blue where the median salaries are lower than the national median salary of €3,515.51 .

There are several clusters where the median salaries are above the national median salary of €3,515.51 . But, it is quite interesting to note

  1. in Baden-Württemberg, the median salary in the majority of cities and districts is higher than the national median salary.
  2. in Eastern Germany, only Berlin and Jena have a median salary that is higher than the national median salary.