• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
A portrait of Germany in ten statistics

A portrait of Germany in ten statistics

Tom Barfield · 15 Jan 2015, 18:14

Published: 15 Jan 2015 18:14 GMT+01:00
Updated: 15 Jan 2015 18:14 GMT+01:00

A year after Chancellor Angela Merkel's election to a third term in government, the Germany of 2014 looks very different to when she first stepped into the Chancellery in 2005.

What are the big trends in German society? What can we expect from the coming years? Read on to find out...

Homelessness

While it can be distressingly common to see homeless people on the streets of Berlin and other large German cities, it's hard to find out exactly how many there are from official statistics.

In 2012, the government was paying social benefits aimed at fighting homelessness to 38,000 people at a total cost of €240 million – but there may well have been many more people living on the streets.

Homelessness working group BAG W estimated in 2012 that there were 284,000 people in various categories of homelessness in Germany, a figure that has been rising quickly since hitting a low of 223,000 in 2008.

Falling unemployment

We learned this month that unemployment has continued to fall despite worries that Germany's economy may once again be slowing down. In fact, unemployment has been on a downward trend since 2006, with a blip for the financial crisis.

The latest figures show that unemployment was at 2.72 million in October, down almost 90,000 since the same time last year.

The even better news is that there are fewer and fewer people in Germany working the so-called “mini-jobs” - very low-paid part-time work – which became a fixture of the labour landscape following the crisis of 2007.

Average wages

Germans are, on average, well-paid – even if they pay high taxes for public services and social welfare systems. The average monthly wage for people working full-time was €3,449 in 2013, but men earned €638 per month more than women for the same hours.

The best-paid sectors were in fossil fuels – oil, gas and coal – although people working in the air travel industry were also big winners. Coal in particular shows no sign of becoming less profitable as Germany turns to it following plans to eliminate the country's nuclear generation capacity in the “Energy transition”.

Meanwhile, the lowest-paid will come as no surprise to people anywhere: they were people in the hospitality industry (hotels and restaurants) and temporary work.

Inequality

Germany is more equal than many comparable countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, with a Gini coefficient (a measure of income inequality) of 0.29, compared with an OECD average of 0.32 (maximum inequality would give a Gini coefficient of 1).

But like all industrial nations in the OECD club, inequality is on the rise in Germany as demand for unskilled labour shrinks. Experts say that on current trends, Germany will be as unequal as the USA, where the average income of the highest-earning 10 percent is 16.5 times as much as that of the lowest-paid. In Germany, that number is currently just 6.9.

Immigration

Germany is “a country of immigration” who non-native population contributes a net €22 billion a year to the social security system.

In absolute numbers, more than 16.5 million people in Germany have a “migration background” - someone in their family having travelled to Germany from abroad. That's 20 percent of the population.

Among those people, 9,086,000 were German citizens, 4,086,000 of whom were born in Germany. They're joined by almost 7 million foreign citizens, almost 5.5 million of whom migrated to Germany in their lifetimes.

Crime

Like neighbouring European countries, Germany has something of an obsession with crime, from the reports published every day in the media to the wild popularity of detective series Tatort (Crime Scene) on Sunday nights.

There were around 6 million crimes reported in 2012, and police managed a solve rate of 54 percent – a slight fall compared with their performance in 2010 and 2011. 2,018,669 people were convicted of crimes, of whom 75 percent were men.

Women in the work force

Germany is pushing hard to integrate women into the workforce, with new regulations coming in to allow parents to split parental leave more fairly between them and the government introducing a quota for female executives on the boards of big companies.

In everyday life, 54 percent of women participate in the labour force, a rate which has held steady since 2005.

And in politics, women hold 230 of the 631 seats in the Bundestag. At 36 percent, that's a higher proportion than the numbers the government is asking companies to introduce in their leadership (30 percent).

Birth rate

Story continues below…

It may be a good thing that Germany is so attractive to migrants, because at the rate people are reproducing the population is aging famously fast.

In 2012, the German birth rate was calculated at just 1.38 per woman – well below the numbers needed to maintain the population.

Compared with other European countries like France or Ireland, both of which top the 2 births per woman mark, Germany may be looking positively geriatric in just a few years.

Cancer survival rate

Compared with most of Europe, Germany performs reassuringly well when it comes to cancer. There were 100.82 deaths from the disease per 100,000 people in 2012, putting Germany ahead of France, the UK and the Netherlands.

Marriage

In 2012, 387,423 couples got married in Germany. That works out to 4.8 marriages per 100,000 inhabitants, a fairly middling rate for an EU member country. Although young Germans may not be as economically precarious as those in other European countries, that doesn't translate into an increased desire to get hitched.

As elsewhere, the trend has been towards fewer and fewer marriages over recent decades – the figure stood at 9.5 in 1960.

Gay couples are still waiting for same-sex marriage laws to be introduced. In 2012, just 0.1 percent of families with children and 0.6 percent of households without children were gay couples who had taken advantage of civil partnership laws.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Tom Barfield (tom.barfield@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Munich pulls together after shopping mall shooting
Photo: DPA

In the chaos after the Munich mall shooting, city residents spontaneously offered shelter to strangers - a move that Chancellor Angela Merkel said showed that Germany's strength lies in its values.

Merkel deplores 'night of horror' in Munich
Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday said Munich had suffered a "night of horror" after a shooting spree in the southern German city left nine people dead.

Munich shooting
Munich attacker was shy video game fan
People laying flowers at the site of the shootings. Photo: DPA.

David Ali Sonboly was a quiet, helpful teenager who loved playing video games. His neighbours say there were no warning signs before his deadly rampage at a Munich shopping mall.

Munich shooting
Munich gunman inspired by rightwing Breivik: police
Photo: DPA

The lone teenager who shot dead nine people in a gun rampage in Munich was "obsessed" with mass killers such as Norwegian rightwing fanatic Anders Behring Breivik and had no links to the Islamic State group, police said Saturday.

Munich shooting
Turks, Kosovans and a Greek among shooting victims
Photo: DPA

Three Turkish citizens were among the nine people killed in Germany's Munich mall shooting. Three Kosovans were also among the nine victims.

Munich shooting
Munich gunman was likely not Isis terrorist: police
Flowers laid at the Olympia Shopping Centre underground station. Photo: DPA

According to initial investigations by Munich police, the young man who went on a shooting rampage in Munich on Friday evening was a lone gunman without motive, not a terrorist.

Munich shooting
'Lone' Munich shooter kills nine, commits suicide
Photo: DPA

A teenage German-Iranian gunman who killed nine people in a shooting spree at a busy Munich shopping centre and then committed suicide had likely acted alone, German police said Saturday.

As it happened
Nine dead in shooting rampage in Munich
File photo: DPA

Nine people are dead after "at least one person" went on a shooting spree in a Munich shopping centre on Friday evening. An attacker is believed to be among the dead.

German Turkish community split by unrest after coup plot
Pro-Erdogan protesters in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Hatred between supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and those opposed to him has exploded on social media in Germany in the wake of a failed coup attempt last Friday.

Germany stresses defence of Baltics after Trump comments
Photo: DPA

Germany on Friday stressed its promise to protect its NATO allies after White House hopeful Donald Trump called the commitment into question.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Analysis & Opinion
Nice was an attack on France, not on Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
10,808
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd