Since the turn of the millennium the populations of large German cities and metropolitan areas have been growing again. This applies even to eastern Germany, where the overall population trend has been consistently downward. With a steep rise in immigration from eastern central Europe and the effects of the economic crisis in southern Europe, the growth trend in German cities can be expected to continue. The increasing inclination of school-leavers to attend university is also promoting urbanisation. On the other hand, the decline in population in many parts of the country will accelerate. The article presents development scenarios up to the year 2030 for Germany’s seven largest metropolitan regions and cities with more than half a million inhabitants. In addition, the consequences of the increasing discrepancy between the dynamic urban centres and a periphery characterised by a declining and ageing population are discussed.