More dreams than people.
Photo: imago images/Westend61/A. Tamboly

BerlinWhat at first sounds like great news quickly evolves into just good news: The population of Berlin shrunk in the first half of the year for the first time since 2003 but at least part of the decline is just theoretical.

Germany’s capital had 3,762,456 residents at the end of June, 7,039 fewer than at the end of 2019, according to the Berlin-Brandenburg Statistics Office. The agency said corona likely slowed the ongoing influx of foreigners while Germans continued to leave Berlin – 1,075 non-Germans registered in Berlin in the first six months of 2020 while 8,114 German citizens left.

“While the corona-related restrictions led to just a small increase in the number of foreigners, an effort to clarify registrations that began in 2019 was stepped up,” the statistics office said. The office is working to remove people who left Berlin without officially deregistering their address, which means some of the decline is the result of mere bookkeeping and catching up with people who left months or years ago.

Last year, 7,526 Germans left Berlin while 28,873 foreigners relocated here.

"It is predominantly foreigners who are affected by the automatic de-registrations," the agency said.

The decline is most notable in Mitte, where just 380,917 people were registered on 30 June compared with 385,748 a year earlier. Marzahn-Hellersdorf led the districts with an increase in population – ahead of Tempelhof-Schöneberg and Pankow – with about 1,300 Zugezogene or newcomers.

Interesting aside: the agency said Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg is the youngest district with an average age of 38.4, followed by Mitte with 39.1. The oldest? Steglitz-Zehlendorf at 46.4, suprising no one.