Anja Herkner
Institute of Rural Studies

Bundesallee 64
38116 Braunschweig
Phone: +49 531 596 5501
Fax: +49 531 596 5599

Refugees in Rural Areas


Integration of refugees into the labor market (c) Andreas Bormann
Integration of refugees into the labor market (© Andreas Bormann)

Migration and integration research in Germany has so far been largely focused on big cities. However, as a result of refugee development since 2014, small towns and villages in rural areas are increasingly being confronted with refugee assistance and integration tasks.

Background and Objective

Some local communities in rural areas see refugee-based immigration not only as a humanitarian task but also as a chance for development in the context of emigration, aging, and skills shortages. However, empirically based answers how this can be achieved are still lacking. 

The research project aims to examine in detail under which conditions, and how humanitarian engagement, and rural development can be successfully linked, and how this can be positively influenced by politics and civil society.

The project will examine rural districts in Bavaria, Hesse, Lower Saxony and Saxony, distinguishing four dimensions:

  • Integration potential of rural areas in Germany (Thünen Institute),
  • Perspective of the refugees (Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg),
  • Local integration policy and its support by the federal, state and EU (University Hildesheim), and
  • Civic engagement and the attitude of the host society (TU Chemnitz).

Target Group

Professional public, political decision-makers


A correspondingly broad-based project is based on the expertise of various research institutions and disciplines. In detail, these are the Thünen Institute of Rural Studies (responsibility for subproject 1 and the study regions in Lower Saxony), the University of Erlangen (subproject 2 and Bavaria), the University of Hildesheim (subproject 3 and Hessen) and the TU Chemnitz (subproject 4 and Saxony). Following up on the research results of the four dimensions and based on regional profiles, policy recommendations are formulated (subproject 5). The Thünen Institute coordinates the joint project.

A project advisory council from research and practice, will support the project progress and discuss the results to ensure the connection to the political practice in the areas of integration and rural development.

Links and Downloads


Involved Thünen-Partners

Involved external Thünen-Partners

Funding Body

  • Federal Ministry of Food und Agriculture (BMEL)
    (national, öffentlich)


1.2018 - 5.2021

More Information

Projekt type:
Project funding number: 2817LE035
Funding program: Bundesprogramm Ländliche Entwicklung
Project status: ongoing

List of Publications

Results 1 - 5 of 9

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  1. Schammann H, Younso C, Meschter D (2020) Lokale Migrationspolitik in ländlichen Regionen Deutschlands: Ausgangspunkte für empirische Forschung. Braunschweig: Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, 45 p, Thünen Working Paper 142, DOI:10.3220/WP1585900191000
    pdf document (limited accessibility) 724 kb
  2. Glorius B, Bürer M, Schneider H (2019) Integration von Geflüchteten und die Rolle der Aufnahmegesellschaft: Konzeptionelle Überlegungen und ihre Anwendung auf ländliche Räume. Braunschweig: Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, 41 p, Thünen Working Paper 120, DOI:10.3220/WP1550743518000
    pdf document (limited accessibility) 882 kb
  3. Neumeier S (2019) Zukunft für Geflüchtete in ländlichen Regionen Deutschlands - Erreichbarkeit von Einrichtungen der Grundversorgung in den Untersuchungslandkreisen und deren kreiseigenen Gemeinden. Braunschweig: Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, 426 p, Thünen Working Paper 122, DOI:10.3220/WP1558335521000
    pdf document (limited accessibility) 216285 kb
  4. Osigus T, Neumeier S, Mehl P (2019) Zukunft für Geflüchtete in ländlichen Regionen Deutschlands - Integrationsrelevante Rahmenbedingungen in den Untersuchungsregionen. Braunschweig: Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, 197 p, Thünen Working Paper 135, DOI:10.3220/WP1576057568000
    pdf document (limited accessibility) 12096 kb
  5. Kordel S, Weidinger T, Hachmeister S (2018) Lebenswelten geflüchteter Menschen in ländlichen Regionen qualitativ erforschen : methodische Überlegungen zu einem partizipativ orientierten Forschungsansatz. Braunschweig: Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, 50 p, Thünen Working Paper 106, DOI:10.3220/WP1540817037000
    pdf document (limited accessibility) 1292 kb

Results 1 - 5 of 9

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