Situated in Landkreis Gottingen in Lower Saxony, Sudharz is a largely rural district in central Germany, close to the former inner-German border. Within the case study area there are a number of small villages (e.g. Wieda, Zorge and Tettenborn). The main regional centre within the area is the town of Osterode am Harz and the main administrative town is Gottingen.
Rural Germany faced several phases of depopulation but due to long-term outmigration from the East to the West, population decline in rural western Germany has tended to be overlooked. In contrast to Germany as a whole, the population in the case study district has been steadily declining over the past number of decades. Similar to the Clogher Valley and East Groningen, it is also an ageing population and subject to younger adult out-migration. According to the share of the population aged 65 and older, it ranks among the top-five regions in Germany which is due to the overlapping of long-term outmigration, age-selective in-migration and increased longevity.
Further information on the study area can be found here: Introduction to Südharz region