Our figure of the month 10/2020: Are socially necessary services breaking away in the countryside?

On the urbanization of service provision

How can we ensure the supply of services in areas that are particularly necessary for our society? This is the topic of our project "To provide socially necessary services: Is working for the common good attractive?" (GenDis), which is being conducted since November 2019 by the Sociological Research Institute Göttingen (SOFI), the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) and the GWS.

Socially necessary services are strongly location-based and region-specific studies are therefore of central importance in this context. In rural areas, specific problems relevant to the project question are sometimes bundled. Our figure of the month documents that in the sectors of socially necessary services there are indeed recognizable urbanization tendencies. For this purpose, sector-related employment data were evaluated for all 401 district regions in Germany according to their district type (metropolitan, urban district, rural district with densification approaches, sparsely populated rural district). The focus is on services that can be regarded as particularly relevant to society, as defined in the GWS Kurzmitteilung 2020/03.

Urbanization is most evident in the services in the area of education and training, which are increasingly being offered in large cities and urban districts that are not part of a district, as the figure illustrates: 46 % of employment in these services takes place in large cities, while the average for all industries here is only 36 %. The same applies to health care services, which are heavily concentrated in large cities. Over the past ten years, the range of services in these areas has grown most dynamically in large cities and urban districts (right-hand side of the figure). In rural areas, the supply of education and training services has virtually stagnated. Only public administration services are found there, and the services of homes and social services are still relatively well represented.

Against this backdrop, the question of how to strengthen the work for the common good in rural areas is gaining further relevance. The project investigates this problem with quantitative and qualitative methods. Results are published continuously.

Other figures can be found here.

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