Ranking Dec 22, 2022

Fit for the future: five Bavarian districts rank among Germany’s top 10 futureproof locations

Every three years, Prognos, a leading European research and consulting firm, examines the future viability of German regions. To do this, they compare selected macro- and socio-economic indicators in a nationwide ranking. This so-called Atlas of the Future (Zukunftsatlas) pinpoints the opportunities and risks of 400 districts and cities in Germany.

In the most recent edition published in fall 2022, four of the top five German locations with the best future opportunities are in Bavaria. Both the city and larger district of Munich made the top ranks, as did the cities of Erlangen and Ingolstadt. The Starnberg district also ranks among the top 10.


The potential for future growth and innovation depends on many factors. These include the presence of universities, research institutes, corporate headquarters, and infrastructure. But the cultural scene and a large number of young, well-educated inhabitants also play an important role.

The Atlas of the Future uses 29 indicators to evaluate a location’s future opportunities both in terms of its current strength and its development over time. Strength indicators include unemployment rates, the number of annual patent registrations and the location’s ability to attract younger people. The location’s population growth as well as the number of jobs created in recent years also figure into the equation.

The city of Munich and its surrounding district have kept the top spots in the ranking for years. Erlangen’s second place (ranked 6 in 2019) is not just excellent news for the Middle Franconian city and its 120,000 inhabitants, it also reflects the city’s successful development in recent decades. According to Prognos, the secret of the city’s performance lies in the attractive mix of research and technology. Prognos’ Managing Director Christian Böllhoff: “About a third of Erlangen’s workforce has an academic degree and often works in future sectors such as IT or medical technology. And the region’s pioneering spirit has resulted in a high number of patent registrations.”

It isn’t just the major metropolitan areas in Bavaria that have great potential for the future. Many Bavarian regions and smaller cities have also risen significantly compared to the ranking three years ago, even making it into the top 50: among others, Unterallgäu (+49 ranks), Ansbach (city) (+39 ranks), Traunstein (+42 ranks), Fürth (city) (+83 ranks), Donau-Ries (+86 ranks) and Oberallgäu (+113 ranks).

A look at the interactive map published by Handelsblatt, a major German business newspaper, shows the overall strength of Bavaria in this comprehensive survey. Its combination of economic strength, functioning networks, access to talent and glocal perspectives goes a long way. Despite the pandemic, the region is fit for the future.

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