• Germany's news in English

Still not enough children for the future

The Local · 4 Aug 2011, 09:18

Published: 04 Aug 2011 09:18 GMT+02:00

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“Even more dramatic was the decline in eastern Germany where the number of children fell by just under 29 percent in the ten-year period to 2010,” said Roderich Egeler President of the Federal Statistical Office, which released a report on the state of Germany's children.

The report said while the number of children has dropped by 2.1 million to 13.1 million over the last 18 years, more are now living in poverty. Roughly one in six kids live below the poverty line in Germany.

Officials worry that the lower number of young people in Europe could put its social systems under strain in the future because there will be fewer taxpayers to fund care for the elderly. Roughly one in four Germans are pensioners today, and 10 percent are affected by poverty.

Neighbouring countries have put programmes in place to boost birth rates with mixed success. In France, children make up about 22 percent of the population, while in Belgium, Great Britain and the Netherlands, about 20 percent of the population are people under 18.

Germany has yet to find a solution to its demographic difficulties, although the government is attempting to expand day care for children under three in an effort to take pressure off working parents. It has also introduced up 14 months in generous parental leave.

But while countries grapple with boosting the number of children, they are also confronted with increasing poverty. In Germany, roughly 15 percent of children were living in poverty in 2008 even before the toughest part of the economic crisis; an increase of about one percent from two years earlier.

About 7 percent of families with children were unable to partake of leisure activities, such as sports or music, due to financial problems. And more than 20 percent of families said that they had to forego vacations because of a shortage of money.

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Josef Hecken, an official in the Ministry for Family Affairs said the statistics showed a need for a “sustainable family policy” and that the government was on the right track.

DPA/The Local/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:36 August 4, 2011 by great_warrior
Well this is one of the most misleading article.Out of these few children who will study,work and pay taxes will only be 10% because most of the children in Germany are from arab,turkish,pakistani,morrocan,tunasia,libya,syria and other poor countries who only believe in increasing population,enjoying hartz 4,claiming social benefits and spreading religion.

"World is like a mirror and only shows the reflection" these old people who needs taxes for their pensions are the one who hates migrants most.I come from educated family and migrated to Germany in hope of better life. I was pretty much annoyed when they refused to give German passport to my daughter,who was born here,while most of the country give passports if one is born there. Every time i go with my daughter i realise some kind of racism. Many people are not just happy if my daughter is crying in S-Bahn or Bus. They get annoyed really fast and make strange faces which make you feel that by giving birth to a child in Germany you have committed a serious crime. Germany is not right country for eduacted migrants.
11:01 August 4, 2011 by ND1000
I've heard many immigrants say things similar to "you are only wanted here if you come to clean toilets or pick vegetables", basically slave type labor. Take your education and skills to America, its more appreciated.
11:32 August 4, 2011 by great_warrior
@ ND1000

Please leave immigrants aside and check the statistical data from Germany to know how many Germans are leaving for USA.You will surely surprised by the numbers.Rather then getting angry use to brain to think why USA is No.1 in the world......you will get the answer in yourself.
11:55 August 4, 2011 by freechoice
There is no perfect country in the world, every country has it's problems. I thought Northern Europe is close to perfect, until we met Anders Behring Breivik. The problem is not external. It's your own self.
12:23 August 4, 2011 by Shirazz

Guttenberg and Klinsmann come to mind...
12:31 August 4, 2011 by marimay
Maybe if the women wouldn't cut their hair so short...
12:41 August 4, 2011 by Asgarli
@great_warrior, you are saying very right things, damn I agree with you. However I think it will be better if you don't call the names of countries.
12:44 August 4, 2011 by harcourt
Mothers, I see from my window, who take their children to a kindergarten just down the road from us, seem to talk to and treat their children as "damn" nuisances. Many years ago I heard that Germans were not Kinderfreundlich I guess things haven't changed much.
12:55 August 4, 2011 by Shirazz
Long hair women are more fertile?
13:16 August 4, 2011 by marimay

Yeah, that is obviously what I meant.
13:24 August 4, 2011 by Shirazz
:-) In good humor of course.

Well, folks, what are you waiting for then ....go home and make more babies.....the country needs you...zak zak chop chop.
14:01 August 4, 2011 by yourholiness
I think this is good news, germany is overcrowded anyway.
14:12 August 4, 2011 by Kanji
On the other side of the table, lots of EU couple don't want to have kid(s), they prefer having pets.
14:15 August 4, 2011 by marimay
I prefer having pets, they stay cute.
14:23 August 4, 2011 by Shirazz
And pets never ask for play station, I-phone,pad,pods....then again....babies grow up and eventually don't need to be walked for pees.

But I think that's not what the government is trying to say here....
14:31 August 4, 2011 by Kanji
Surely it's not but what government can do if their own people don't want to have kid(s)?
14:52 August 4, 2011 by Shirazz
They'll just have to have a meeting with all the MP's and order them to make more babies themselves.....those who are too old...and I'm afraid many are...will have to have artificial insemination ...
15:06 August 4, 2011 by marimay
Pets don't ask you to spend your hard earned money on justin bieber either! D:
20:16 August 4, 2011 by ashleyrose86
wow i do not understand some of you that say you would prefer pets over kids! Kids are such a wonderful thing. You get to teach them about life. and to hear my son call me mommy is the best thing in the world. anyone who thinks they dont want to have kids you should think harder they are wonderful!!
20:18 August 4, 2011 by farmon
I sure hope it's not too late. From all the selfish comments I've seen here, they must have all come from micro families. Ethnic Germans have got to get over themselves and producing large families again. If not, you will not be able to retire and the possibility of euthanasia if you become ill. In the US, German immigrants had large families and made the US what it was and became the greatest nation on earth. That same selfish idea in the US has caused the whites now to be out numbered by the minorities. Now look where the US stands. Broke and the biggest debtor nation on earth.
20:41 August 4, 2011 by marimay
Oh, please, farmon. If the Germans made the US what it is then the US would be boring and full of nothing but germans and horrible food, which thankfully it is not.
21:38 August 4, 2011 by charlenej
@marimay - one of the funnier comments I've seen on here!
23:06 August 4, 2011 by zeddriver
One needs to look at the underlying reasons for not having kids. That's where the government needs to start. Of course the reasons are varied and numerous. Several that I can think of.

1, We have been trained by the gov. and business that we need to consume more and more to make the economy and tax revenues grow. As a result we owe so much money that both husband and wife have to work to pay the taxes, bills.

2, We have been trained by our uber consumerism and our employers to work more and more. Decades ago most people didn't take their work home.

3, We have so many people and gov agencies telling us how to raise our kids. If you even very mildly discipline your child or mention the word god to them in public. Someone is bound to call the child protection service.

In a nut shell. The very agency telling you that you must now have more kids was the main agency responsible thru it policies for people deciding not to have kids.
02:53 August 5, 2011 by Gretl
@zeddriver - You're kidding, right?

1. And? Stay-at-home parenting is a luxury, not a necessity. Most families in the US have 2 working parents.

2. Ha! I've seen Germans work. What a joke! And then there's the endless vacations. How does this impact your parenting? I have 3 kids, my husband is deployed, and I am working 60 hrs a week 4th qtr. My sympathy for you is, well, non- existent.

3. Obviously Germans do, their children must be beaten into submission, I've never seen such joyless creatures.

Narcissism, men without game, women with short hair (per marimay)...if Germans can't be bother to reproduce, well, they're only killing themselves. More room for me and mine.

And pets don't want to see "Smurfs 3-D".
05:35 August 5, 2011 by Shirazz
Growing a family is a personal choice. Biologically, reproduction is a natural cause and effect of healthy human beings.

If for any reason they do not wish to reproduce, be it because of economy reasons, emotional, health, culture - the environment they were brought up in (people around them having lots of kids or none at all), for ruhig reasons, uncertainties, etc, then it's solely up to them and their partners to decide.

Thanks to education and contraceptives, they are able to choose.

And many choose not to bring millions of babies more into the world to face starvation - of love, food, proper caring, and time and devotion of their parents. If they choose quality over quantity, I say good for them.

Having a baby is a big decision, and only when they are ready to take on the lifelong responsibility, to assure that their child will be protected, nurtured, loved and provided of the necessities, should they do it, but not just because the country needs numbers or they are given a few more cents of kinder gelt.
05:59 August 5, 2011 by heyheyhey
To those of you who are so invested in reproducing..........STOP BREEDING.



06:43 August 5, 2011 by harcourt
Darwins' Theory of Evolution claims that a species or sub-species goes into decline when it is unsuccessful at coping with its surrounding environment etc., and is incapable of adapting. - Discuss !!
09:03 August 5, 2011 by nam86
Maybe the millions of innocent children that are murdered in Abortion could help with this problem! Stop abortion, and there will be a big difference.
09:13 August 5, 2011 by harcourt
There is nothing worse than being forced to have an unwanted baby/child. And I AM thinking of the well-being of the offspring.
10:51 August 5, 2011 by zeddriver

You missed my point. Those are some reasons that couples choose to not have kids.

You even made one of my points. A parent at home a luxury? Until the it's all about me generation starting in the 1960's. A parent at home was the norm. The only time a sitter was hired was for the occasional special night out. My parents set a budget based on a stay at home parent. Their attitude was that WE will raise our kids. Not some stranger down the street. And since most couples these days want a career more than kids. The birth rate is low Esp. in more educated societies.

I think this fine. As I think that in a two career family. The ones that generally get over looked are the kids.
11:14 August 5, 2011 by yourholiness
If the germans do lose control over their country in the end they deserve it.
13:17 August 5, 2011 by zeddriver

I forgot to add that I hope your husband returns from deployment safe and sound.

Thank him on my behalf for his service.

17:25 August 5, 2011 by Matt in Florida
Qualtiy over quanity, is the best way to describe this. Fremde Kinder werdenwohl erzogen. Let's hope more people choose Kinder sind armer Leute Reichtum. All the best!
17:29 August 5, 2011 by Jollyjack
Why is it considered that a falling population such a bad thing? Yes, it means fewer people to pay for pensions but pensions should be paid out of investments not from the salaries of people working today. A falling population means a reduction in the way we rape the planet, for example, food production.
17:42 August 5, 2011 by yourholiness
@ Jollyjack

A falling population would be a good thing in many ways but the powers that be here worry about supporting the pensioners in their dotage. My own opinion is that a falling population is much preferable to an immigration policy that lowers the quality of life in germany in important ways.
19:33 August 5, 2011 by Jack Kerouac
@ farmon - the ethnic makeup of the United States is not as you suggest. Whites (non-hispanic whites; what is a 'hispanic white' anyway?) make up 63.7% of the entire population. Whites are not "outnumbered" by minorities. And the minorites do not automatically cause the nation's debt. It is 1) the mass exodus of uneducated peoples from south america and mexico, and the immigration cap on educated people from Europe; and 2) The government officials who spend grotesque amounts on the "defense" budget, and bailout the banks when they get greedy and issue loans that no one can afford.
20:22 August 5, 2011 by farmon
@ Jack -Thanks for doing the homework. It was from news reports that I had my figures. I checked the census and you are correct. By the way, the Irish had a lot to do with their large families to keep the white populations up in the US.
03:24 August 6, 2011 by yourholiness
@ farmon

Now that the shoe is on the other immigrational foot watch how quickly western societies are dumbed down and destabilized. Not to mention bankrupted.
04:46 August 6, 2011 by Gretl
zedriver - it was not the norm since the industrial revolution. There have been pockets of time in history (like the 1950's) when women were asked to abandon the workplace so veterans could have a job. And no, I have no regrets that we hire professionally trained caregivers to take care of my kids. My husband wanted a job outside the home.

I am glad someone brough up Darwin. My father looked at me when I was 23 and told me I was too intelligent not to breed. Unfortunately, many of my very brilliant friends couldn't be bothered. Yet people who can't get their IQ's into the triple digits are breeding. Places where industrialization is new, people have not yet reduced their family size. Places where famine reduces the mental capacity of the next generation and they go on to have more children. Smart people need to make smarter decisions.

Biologically speaking, you are only here to reproduce and have your genes continue, so if you miss the reproduction boat, why are you here?
07:54 August 6, 2011 by WAKeele
Anyone that says my U.S. is Nr.1 needs to read the lastest news. Unless the government strong-arms S&P, we fall to the credit rating status of Belgium.

Get off your high horses. So what if the majority isn't the majority in a few years. You had your turn on top...just like the U.S. ALL empire will fail at some point.

P.S. Non-natural abortion is GREAT! (this is coming from someone that was almost aborted) It's better to abort than bring into an unwanted home. I too have been told I'm too intelligent and genetically "gifted" to not have kids. I'm choosing not to fathering any children. Not because of what I have to offer, but because of what I don't think I'm willing (or wanting) to offer my children.
11:36 August 6, 2011 by harcourt

You seem a REALLY sensible guy, someone who stops and thinks before procreating !!
12:39 August 6, 2011 by sefer4u
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
04:43 August 7, 2011 by bonhomme
The earth is not overpopulated. The fact is that it is unevenly dispersed. Too many living on land with inadequate water or soil for farming. If every family in the world was placed in the United States, each family could be alloted 5 acres of land. Trouble is, even in that case too much of the land would be in the desert or on a mountain top.
12:06 August 7, 2011 by Cazkey
As a american living in Germany for 7 years now, I would like to help Germans with the perception of needing more children. So any woman who wants to try to have a baby send me a message. Hehe.
01:06 August 8, 2011 by zeddriver

HHMMM!!! The first half of your second paragraph sounds familiar. You obviously have perfect genes. And therefore must bless the earth with their presence. And that word WANTED a job. Wanted rather than needed a job shows you had a choice. I see the outside job won out over the at home job.

As for biologically speaking. Only half correct. Yes! Our purpose is to procreate. The other half is in the rearing of our offspring. You decided to only perform the later. Then farmed out the rest to the hired help.

A lot of well educated folk choose their career over having children. Maybe they saw kids as a hindrance to their career. Or maybe they could see that they couldn't devote the time and effort involved in raising a child. That was my point all along. Didn't say it was right or wrong. It's just the way it is. For some it is politics or a true fear of the brutal future our kids will likely be faced with. In the end. As our standard of living went up. The birth rate went down. I suspect that a lot of folks were more dedicated to living it up and climbing the corp. ladder. And were less concerned with the gene pool.
01:34 August 9, 2011 by electric38
Do a little research on how many production facilities are on the drawing boards that will utilize solar energy to power mostly robotics. Hundreds of these factories are already in operation and some of the advantages include.

1-Energy from the sun is free after the investment return (3-7 years).

2-Can operate 24/7 with no overtime costs.

3-No pension costs.

4-No health, holiday, pay raise, promotion, insubordination/human relations issues.

5-No paychecks.

6-No employment taxes or fees.

7-Factories that produce the most successful robots will be on the rise also. This will include the thousands of military related robots that are on the drawing boards.

Even though China is poised to take full advantage of this technology shift, they will suffer the most as it will make them less competitive. Cheap labor will be less of an advantage. Their move to an on-line educational system will help somewhat, but their population problem will be worse than other countries.
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