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Towns face shrinking budgets if census reveals smaller populations

The Local · 19 May 2011, 09:01

Published: 19 May 2011 09:01 GMT+02:00

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Stuttgart city authorities are already planning on having 40,000 fewer people than thought, and the reduced budget that will bring. Each person living in a city attracts a certain payment from state coffers, in some cases as much as €1,000.

University cities are most at risk of ending up with fewer official residents, as students move around often, creating double entries in inhabitant registers.

Calculations have been made on the basis of the last West German national census in 1987 and figures from the East dating back to 1990, combined with data on births, deaths and people moving from one place to another. But statisticians suspect Germany as a whole has 1.3 million fewer people than the official estimates.

Stuttgart has long abandoned the official statistics, said Thomas Schwarz, head of the Baden-Württemberg state statistics office. “Here we base all our considerations on the population figure from the registration office,” he said.

The 1987 census hit a number of university towns badly, with Göttingen ‘losing’ nearly 20,000 people, bringing its official population down to 115,000, while Heidelberg ‘lost’ 8,500, bringing its population down to 136,000 and the official population of Tübingen sank by nearly six percent to 71,700.

“We now have to wait for the results,” said a spokeswoman for Heidelberg, referring to the census currently being carried out across the country.

The financial consequences differ from state to state, with for example, Baden-Württemberg basing its funding of local communities on the statistics.

“When a town loses population, it also loses key income. That hits the communities very hard,” said Kristina Fabijancic-Müller from the state’s municipal council. Other states base their calculations on residential registers, which are more accurate.

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Some town halls are already applying for help from the state.

“When there has been readjustments in the past, there was always bridging agreements so that the financial basis of the districts was not immediately weakened. That is something we would expect here,” said the Heidelberg spokeswoman.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:27 May 19, 2011 by moistvelvet
Only house owners are applicable to fill out the census, with so many people living in rented acommodation they won't be counted either. So what is the point of the census?
11:24 May 19, 2011 by Simon_Kellett
> Only house owners are applicable to fill out the census, with so many people living in rented acommodation they won't be counted either.

I assume the owner of the rented accommodation fills in the census form listing the tenants.
12:01 May 19, 2011 by pepsionice
I don't think this is as big of a deal as folks suggest. You have to be registered in your village....or re-register when you move from village to village. They did a big data dump last year and finally cleaned up the multiple entires who showed around a million Germans with multiple addresses. So this census will likely confirm 99 percent of what the expected number should be.

I will agree that on a wide city basis....it may show that some neighborhoods are mostly two-person homes...versus the four-person homes that they had thirty years ago. Cities might be changing the way they allocate or fix things on a city-wide basis.
15:46 May 19, 2011 by adipk
@moistvelvet: If you are right than why Government is conducting such sh/%. Absolutely no clue of such nonsense. Anyway i dont like the city where i am living. Whatever if authorities reduce the budget of my city.
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