A NEW disease is abroad in eastern Germany: Frauenmangel, lack of women. In some towns there are only 75 young women for every 100 young men. In one or two there are as few as 40. The effects are worrying, not only because populations may shrink but also because of the existence of a growing underclass of young men who are partnerless, underqualified and jobless.
A study by the Berlin Institute for Population and Development has looked at Herzberg and Ebersbach, two small towns in eastern Germany. “Even the mayor of Ebersbach hadn't realised this is going on,” says Reiner Klingholz, the institute's director. It is a vicious spiral. Girls are more studious than boys, so they get better qualified and migrate west to find both partners and jobs. The boys lack role models at home, where fathers are often unemployed, and at school, where teachers are mostly female. Young men now account for 65% of German high-school dropouts.
The few women who stay prefer single parenthood to hitching themselves to useless partners—benefits for single mothers are generous. It is women who are now masters of their destinies. The study, which combines reportage with figures, tells of frustrated gangs of youths drinking outside supermarkets and sleeping on their loading ramps.
What's it been, fifteen years since die Einheit? And the former East Germany is still a messed up place.
What's also messed up is that I don't know how to get back to the margin after making this indentaion for the quote. Help! Fly!