Southern Germany

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The term Southern Germany () is used to describe a region in the south of Germany. There is no specific boundary to the region, but it usually includes all of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, and the southern part of Hesse. The Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate are also often included.


Two of the most populous states of Germany, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, are part of Southern Germany; they have a combined population of 23,5 million people. In the broader sense (with Rhineland-Palatinate and the Saarland), Southern Germany includes roughly 30 million people. Thus, about 40% of the German population and almost 30% of all native speakers of the German language live there.

The region has a Catholic majority, but also a significant Lutheran Protestant population (especially in Northern Württemberg and some parts of Baden and Franconia (Northern Bavaria)), in contrast to the almost entirely Protestant Northern Germany. Due to the immigration of non-Christians, mainly Turks (see Turks in Germany) during the last decades of the 20th century, there is also a small number (roughly 250.000, i.e. 2-3% of the population) of Muslims.

Natural and cultural borders

The River Main, flowing westward, through Upper and Lower Franconia and Southern Hesse, through the city of Frankfurt, into the River Rhine at Mainz, is often cited as a natural border between Southern and Middle Germany while the border west of Mainz is in that respect less clearly determined. The border...
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