Bertelsmann Stiftung (ed.)

Social Cohesion in Germany 2020

A challenge for us all. Results of a representative population survey. English Summary

Format Type
Date of publication
1. edition
8 pages, PDF


Free of charge


The topic of social cohesion has gained significantly in importance in recent years, while attracting increasing attention. Over the long term, the megatrends of globalization, digital transformation and demographic change are driving rapid, comprehensive and fundamental societal changes. Concern over cohesion has grown as a result. Currently, the coronavirus pandemic and its social and economic consequences constitute a particular challenge for communal life. The present study was originally intended to examine long-term processes of social change on a longitudinal basis. As such, it was designed to produce a time-series comparison with the findings of its predecessor study from 2017. However, in view of the dramatic developments underway since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the research objective was expanded, and the design of the study adapted accordingly.

The empirical foundation of the study is a representative telephone-based survey conducted in two stages during 2020, with a longitudinal design. In the first wave, carried out from 5 February to 28 March, a total of 3,010 people aged 16 or above were surveyed. In the second wave, conducted from 27 May to 9 June, a total of 1,000 people who had already participated in the first wave were interviewed a second time. In making its long-term time comparison, this study refers to data from the predecessor study conducted in 2017.

Thus, this study provides a current snapshot of societal developments taking place during the first months of the pandemic, and evaluates them with reference to long-term trends. However, the results of this study must always be considered against the background of the ongoing dynamics of current developments.

This is the English summary. The full study is available only in German: Gesellschaftlicher Zusammenhalt 2020. Eine Herausforderung für uns alle. Ergebnisse einer repräsentativen Bevölkerungsstudie.

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