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Last Updated: Friday, 1 June 2007, 17:34 GMT 18:34 UK
Exodus of women 'hurts E Germany'
By Paul Legg
BBC News Europe editor

Anja Lehmann in Dresden, eastern Germany
Women in cities like Dresden are looking further afield
The former East Germany is being drained of young women, leaving an underclass of disillusioned young men behind, a study says.

It is well known that Germans living in the former East have been leaving the region in huge numbers since communism collapsed at the start of the 1990s.

Many have gone to western Germany, or to foreign countries.

The report, entitled Too Many Men, says women have made up the greater part of the exodus.

Since the fall of communism one-and-a-half million - roughly 10% of the population of the former East Germany - have headed west in the hope of better work opportunities.

Most of them are under 35 years old, and with a better than average education.

Neo-Nazi recruits

What this new report by the Institute for Population and Development establishes, is that young women have been leaving in much greater numbers than young men - and that of the men who did leave, many returned.

The result is that in many towns in eastern Germany, the report says, there are simply not enough women to go round.

This lack of female company only adds to the frustrations of often jobless young men, making them easy prey for neo-Nazi groups looking for recruits.

The report suggests that the reason young east German women are more inclined to "go west" and stay there is that they tend to be better educated. And it says the male-female imbalance in the east is already leading to a fall in the birth rate in that part of Germany.

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