Münsterland as a Business Location | Structural Figures | Labour Market
Münsterland as a business location
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Data, facts, numbers

Facts and figures on the Münsterland economic region

The Münsterland is a dynamic economic region with numerous small and medium-sized enterprises. The people of Münsterland are not only particularly productive, but also innovative. Find out more about facts, figures and data from the Münsterland region here.

Geography: One regional centre, four districts

Our Münsterland business location includes the city of Münster as the main centre and the four more rural districts of Borken, Coesfeld, Steinfurt and Warendorf with the district towns of the same names. We are located in the north-west of North Rhine-Westphalia. Our border neighbours are the Dutch and the Lower Saxons. Although we are the third largest of the nine regions in NRW in terms of area, we are comparatively sparsely populated. Only 394 (in 2021) inhabitants live on average per square kilometre (NRW: 525 in 2021). In total, 1.66 million people live here (2022).

Demography: The number of inhabitants is rising

We are a growing region. Almost every tenth citizen of North Rhine-Westphalia lives here. For the city of Münster in particular, a further increase in the number of inhabitants is expected by 2030. But also in the districts the number of inhabitants - contrary to the general trend - will at least remain stable in the medium term. Currently, around 1.6 million people call Münsterland home. And while the population throughout NRW declined slightly in 2020 and 2021 in the wake of the Corona pandemic, Münsterland could even gain slightly in population. Towards the end of the 2030s, however, a
decline is then likely to set in until 2050.

Want to know what it's like to live in Münsterland? Then take a look at Living in Münsterland.

We have more children and young people (aged 5 to 18) than the NRW average. Accordingly, we have the highest number of households with four or more persons in the state (15.9 percent). The district with the most children is the district of Borken. And the good thing about it: if at all possible, young people want to remain loyal to their region. This is shown by the youth study, in which almost 800 people have their say.

Did you know ...?!

Our citizens are the youngest of all nine economic regions in NRW. We are 43 years old on average - exactly one year younger than the state-wide average.

Economic structure

Our economy is characterised by small and medium-sized enterprises. There are around 68,000 businesses and companies here. Our GDP per capita is not the highest (€38,600), but since 2012 the regional value added has been growing largely in line with the state. Even in a ten-year view, the increase of 28.5 percent was above the NRW average of 22.8 percent.

In addition, the Münsterland location is valued. This is confirmed by the results of the NRW municipal ranking. There, numerous municipalities in the Münsterland received above-average rankings with regard to the topics of economy, work, housing and quality of life. Among the top 20 are Horstmar (8th place), Ostbevern (11th place), Altenberge (13th place), Legden (16th place), Ochtrup (17th place), Oelde (19th place) and Ahaus (20th place).

Agriculture and manufacturing

Agriculture plays a particularly important role in the districts of Borken, Coesfeld and Warendorf. Overall, the sector generates 1.7 percent of gross value added - more than in any other NRW region - and thus contributes almost 30 percent of the total agricultural gross value added in NRW. This is another reason why the share of the manufacturing industry, which includes the processing of agricultural products, is higher than the state average at 29.5 percent of gross value added. This is where most of the employees subject to social insurance contributions are to be found, with around 143,800 workers. The next most important employers in Münsterland are the health and social services sector and trade.


As an administrative and university city, the city of Münster is a service centre. 87.7 per cent of the gross value added was generated in this sector. Only in Bonn is the share higher. The public and other services sector plays a particularly important role and, at 38 percent, is larger than in any other sub-region.

Focal points

Our economy is characterised by a great diversity of sectors, but due to its grown structure it is particularly leading in the following areas (clusters): mechanical engineering, food industry, logistics, health industry, knowledge-intensive services as well as innovative materials and resource efficiency. With the aim of strengthening the business location in the long term, keeping it attractive and specialising in the competition between regions, companies, research institutions and networks also combine their competences in the areas of "Digital Solutions" (Digital Solutions), "Life Sciences" (Life and Life Sciences), "Engineering Pro" (Modern Engineering Services), "Materials and Surfaces" (Materialsand Surface Competence) and "Sustainable Eco" (SustainableManagement and Ecological Awareness). They form the central fields of action for innovation promotion in Münsterland and are supported by regional cooperation.

The Münsterland is innovative The Münsterland is innovative
© Münsterland e.V.
Fields of innovation competence
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Münsterland labour market


In total, around 1.08 million women and men have a job in our country. The shortage of skilled workers is already making itself felt in many sectors and is likely to intensify from 2020 onwards. From 2030, the "labour force potential" in the region will even have decreased by more than 100,000 people. The main reason for this is demographic change. But migration movements also play a role here, which is why our companies are particularly wooing young people and families with many different offers, providing them with an exciting, flexible job here in a particularly liveable environment.

Around 619,000 of the total 1.08 million employed people are subject to social insurance contributions (as of summer 2017) - and their numbers are growing in a ten-year comparison. The service sector had the largest increase with around 83,900 new jobs, of which most new jobs were in social services and health care and trade with 28,400 and 12,200 respectively. In percentage terms, jobs in professional, scientific and technical services increased the most - by more than half from 20,400 to 32,500.

Unemployment figures

Skilled workers are in demand in Münsterland, also due to our low unemployment rate. At 4.8 per cent, the unemployment rate is the lowest in the whole of NRW and is also comparatively low compared to the national average. The reason for unemployment is therefore usually not the lack of job offers, but the unsuitable or inadequately qualified applicants.


In terms of income, the Münsterland was above the NRW average of 23,201 euros in 2020. This was the result of a study by the North Rhine-Westphalia State Office for Information and Technology.


The digital transformation not only changes working methods and job profiles, but also demands a significantly higher level of creativity from our employees in order to effectively solve new customer problems on a daily basis. It also demands a willingness from them to constantly engage with and learn new things - throughout their working lives. Accordingly, the demands of companies on the qualifications of their employees are increasing. In particular, the demand for highly qualified workers is constantly increasing - and our skilled workers are able to meet this demand better than average.

Did you know ...?!
  • The number of employees subject to social insurance contributions is not only rising steadily in our region, but also more strongly than in all other economic regions in NRW in a ten-year comparison. Around 100,000 employees were added between summer 2007 and 2017. An increase of almost 20 percent.
  • The district of Coesfeld has had the lowest unemployment rate in NRW for years. The district of Borken is one of the districts in NRW with the fewest unemployed.
  • In the 2021 school year, around 4.6 per cent of pupils in Münsterland left school without qualifications, which was below the average in the state of 5.5 per cent. At 24.8 per cent, the proportion of university graduates in Münster is higher than in any other sub-region.

Future Region Münsterland - Prognos Future Atlas 2022

So how does Münsterland stand overall as a place to live and do business? Pretty good! Münsterland is a region of the future - or so says the Future Atlas 2022 by the renowned economic research institute Prognos. In the region, the future opportunities outweigh the risks. Indicators for the study were the fields of demography, labour market, competition and innovation as well as prosperity and social situation. Take a look at the results in detail!

People like to move here: Münsterland region of the future People like to move here: Münsterland region of the future
© Münsterland e.V./Kai Marc Pel
Bright future in the Münsterland
Future Atlas 2022
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Happy in Münsterland Happy in Münsterland
© Münsterland e.V./Philipp Fölting
Did you know ...?!

The fact that the region is so well positioned economically makes the residents here pretty happy. To put it bluntly: the Münsterland is the happiest region in NRW. In addition to the good economic situation, other factors also contribute to happiness.

Find out more

More about the Münsterland economic region