Facts Weißenfels

Selected Key Data



Statistics show that the population of Weißenfels had already started to decrease in the mid-1960s with the abandonment of lignite extraction. At that time around 47,000 people lived in the town. However, the process of emigration increased dramatically with the political changes.

The 1990s were characterised to a large extent by migration from the town to the surrounding region. In 1991 the population was 36,390, and in 2006 it had fallen further to 29,669. The demographic structure of the population reveals a serious development. The proportion of people in the age group under 5 and between 5 and 15 fell by 50 per cent. Since the birth rate remains at a comparatively low level and the mortality rate continues to be higher, no reversal of this trend can be expected in the long term.

Municipal Boundaries


Because of increased suburbanisation from the early 1990s, the cities have lost a considerable proportion of their inhabitants and tax revenues to the surrounding communities. In order to dilute the impact of these losses, a gradual process of incorporation has increased the municipal areas in size, sometimes significantly so.

The coloured shape on the map symbolises the expansion of the city in 1990, the outer line shows the boarder of the municipal area of 2010.

Housing Situation


It is quite evident that these numbers have resulted in a large number of vacant houses. While there were a total of 2,188 vacant flats in 1995, the number had grown to 4,207 in 2000, a figure that had decreased only slightly to 3,913 vacant flats by 2005. The historic parts of the town still have the highest vacancy rates: at 41.5 per cent, the old town heads the list followed by the central district with 35 per cent and the Neustadt quarter with 27.8 per cent. The town shows obvious signs of this process of shrinkage. Many, mainly private residential houses, stand empty and fall into disrepair. When they are torn down, they leave gaps in the basic structure of a town, that up until a few years 14 ago still showed the structures of a Baroque royal residence.

Housing Situation in Weißenfels (2/2010):
Housing Stock: 19,400
Surplus Housing: 3,700 / 19 Percent
Housing Demolitian since 2001/02: 300



The reorganisation and privatisation of once large companies following the political turnaround in 1989 and the reunification of the two German states in 1990 led to the complete collapse of the industries in Weißenfels. Shoe production, which had until then been dominant, did not survive once the economy was opened up to global trade and competition from low-wage countries. More than 6,000 from VEB Schuhkombinat Weißenfels alone were forced to seek new opportunities. The development was not much different at the nearby chemical works of Leuna and Buna. The number of unemployed thus increased dramatically to 6,187 in 1995, reaching an all-time high of 8,577 in 2005.

The diagram illustrates the radical economic structural reform: Large industrial combines were forced to close, and even where smaller companies came along and still produce today, the often significantly increased output figures require only a fraction of the workforce once needed.

Relocating and Commuting

Bildschirmfoto Pendler und Umzüge

In the 1990s, suburbanisation affected all the IBA cities. At the same time, people, especially those from the former industrial centres, began to move to West Germany. The populations of the large cities of Halle (Saale) and Magdeburg have increased minimally in recent times, mainly due to migration from Saxony-Anhalt. In the meantime, the improved transportation network allows for longer journeys to and from work and the number of commuters is climbing.

The interactive tool "Relocating and commuting" visualises this range of topics for all IBA cities.

Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde (IfL), Leipzig 2010 Data: Günter Herfert, design/programming: Sebastian Specht

Sources for the statistical information: Raumbeobachtungssystem Sachsen-Anhalt (RABE); Saxony-Anhalt Ministry for Regional Development and Transport; Statistisches Landesamt Sachsen-Anhalt; Weißenfels urban development plan 2008; GDR statistics, 1989; www.iba-monitor.de; Stand 11/2009

Info: Weißenfels

(Municipal Area of 2010)
1989: 43.639
2009: 33.315
2025: 26.140 (Future Prospect)

Municipal Area: 51,6 qkm

IBA-Website of Weißenfels