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Germany's ageing population heading for massive decline

Published: 18 Nov 2009 16:24 GMT+01:00

The precipitous drop will be accompanied by a dramatic shift in the amount of elderly people in Germany. Of the country's current 82 million inhabitants, some 20 percent are now aged 65. But in 2060, that percentage will increase to 33 percent.

“In particular the consistently low birthrate and growing life expectancy is leading to an ageing and shrinking of the population,” Federal Statistics Office President Roderich Egeler told a press conference.

He said the shrinking population will be the “most important political and social challenges in the coming decades” for Germany.

In the next 50 years, the numbers of Germans being born will continue to decrease while the numbers of deaths increase, more than tripling the current annual birth deficit.

Egeler said that the country's population decline is unlikely to be stopped by either net immigration or by a slight increase in the current birthrate of 1.4 children per woman.

But the population of working age people in is expected to drop by as much as 34 percent by 2060, forcing greater immigration in order to prop up the country's generous welfare system for elderly Germans.

Even in the next 20 years, the working population is expected to suffer the burden of Germany’s ageing population. Today, there are 34 people aged 65 and over to every 100 working-age people. In 2030, there will be 50 retirees to every 100 workers.

The population projections by the Statistics Office assume Germany’s fertility rate will remain nearly constant and that the life expectancy will increase at a steady rate.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

17:57 November 18, 2009 by pepsionice
I anticipate a massive immigration effort after 2015. But the question is....where do they recruit? This Turkish episode is not working. The Egyptian and African episode is not working. The Russians? Their population is decreasing as well....so you can forget them.

It wouldn't surprise me if they enticed 100,000 Japanese folks to move from overcrowded Japan to Germany.
20:27 November 18, 2009 by ebermannstadt
Pretty rediculous, trying to predict something like this. They have assumed that birth rates and immigration won't increase by 2060! Would the "experts" in 1909 been able to predict 1960? So many factors are politically willed, even the birth rate. If, and when it's important enough, society can, and will increase birth rates. On the one hand we are faced with a global loss of habitats, due to global warming, and on the other hand schrinking populations in old Europe.

Germany needs to make itself attractive to the right sort of immigrants, compensate mothers for periods of child rearing and it can easily reverse the trend.
21:51 November 18, 2009 by Fredfeldman
Sometimes it feels too crowded here already. In a future where space, water and other resources will be at a premium and overcrowding will be characteristic of most places on earth perhaps population decline in Germany wouldn't be such a bad thing.
22:09 November 18, 2009 by wxman
The reason the US has 38 million immigrants is because you're only an immigrant if you were born in a foreign country. If you are born in the US, regardless of your parents origin, you are an American. As for the older population in Germany decreasing by 2060, the point is moot since Germany will have been a Muslim nation for about 20 years by then.
00:45 November 19, 2009 by unicuri
Now a flock of comments for non German giving their expertise that Germany will melt in the next decade .Now it's time for this people to apply here in Germany as psychic,astrologist, spiritualist, copy editor ,political analyst ,etc...we need you here ,if you like the 400 euro job.
13:49 November 19, 2009 by barracks
Herrdinkbumps although you put it as a "herr",I just have an imagination of this ugly old lady,with a long dirty nails,long unwashed hair with her big glass ball,telling the future of Germany.
14:30 November 19, 2009 by manchesgirl
Immigration does not help,when German people heard that word it raises their eyebrows,the reaction almost like us brits when we heard asylum.
15:28 November 19, 2009 by barracks
We have the same problems like Germany supposed to be, only that we are more populated at the moment because of to much immigrants and asylum seekers which running out our resources.When germany don't like parasites we also don't like.So it doesn't mean that we have more people in UK, we are better than Germany, it depends of how many people are working and not working and what kind of people producing children.
23:42 November 19, 2009 by Logic Guy
Well, the answers to Germany's problems are actually uite simple.

An efficient and conservative government would do wonders for Germany, as well as every other country in the world.

Therefore, the real problems lies in convincing those with power that this style of government is the best of all.
12:33 November 20, 2009 by heathen
bottom line is that there are overpopulation issues that seem not to be addressed by any significant government...there are way too many people in india and china and most asian countries (mostly young)...too many old f*cks in the west without a sustainable birthrate to keep demographics as is...this world would be much better off if it had half the current populations (and percentage tilted towards european offspring...)
13:48 November 20, 2009 by ErnestPayne
Well the increase in elderly population may be a "bad thing" in terms of cost for the working population. However the decline in population will be a "good thing" for those seeking housing (as more becomes available and market prices will fall) and in terms of stress on the environment., etc.
14:41 November 20, 2009 by Jollyjack
The advantage of a declining population is that you have fewer mouths to feed. No bad thing.
22:02 November 20, 2009 by DrGideonPolya
This is great news. A key component of the worsening climate emergency that acutely threatens the Biosphere and Humanity is burgeoning population. World population is currently 6.6 billion but is expected to reach about 9.5 billion by 2050. Top UK climate scientist Dr James Lovelock FRS has estimated that fewer than 1 billion people will survive this century due to unaddressed, man-made climate change, with world leading per capita carbon polluters like climate criminal Australia and the US being major culprits. This will be a Climate Genocide that is estimated to kill 10 billion people this century including 6 billion infants, 3 billion Muslims, 2 billion Indians, 0.5 billion Bengalis, 0.3 billion Pakistanis and 0.3 billion Bangladeshis. It is great to see that the German people are doing their bit (bottom up) to reduce population to match the (top-down) population control success in China. And in terms of carbon footprint, the annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution of an average German (12 tonnes per person per year) is about 13 times greater than that of a Bangladeshi (0.9 tonnes per person per year) but less than half of an American (27) or an Australian (30 ; or 54 if Australia¦#39;s huge Exported CO2 pollution is included).
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