• Germany's news in English

Disgruntled Germans call for census re-count

The Local · 6 Aug 2013, 08:52

Published: 06 Aug 2013 08:52 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The results of the 2011 census were released in May and are causing concern. According to the online edition of Der Spiegel news weekly, the range of difference in population, when compared to existing figures, was between -42 and +230 percent. Census figures revealed a population drop in almost two-thirds of municipalities.

About 800 municipalities have so far officially objected to the census findings. And although the most populous states of Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria have not yet launched official complaints, they have appealed to their local statistical offices to review the figures.

Should a significant number of municipalities bring the case to court, the results of the entire census could be called into question. Critics have challenged the methodology used by the statisticians and some have gone as far as to describe it as "unconstitutional".

Behind the outcry is the fear that under Germany's policy of allocating state funding in part according to population size, many places will lose out financially.

Outrage is most pronounced in the south-western state of Baden-Württemberg, where 365 mayors - that amounts to about a third of municipalities - have officially objected to the census findings.

In the city of Mannheim, where the census reported a drop in population of 7.5 percent, mayor Peter Kurz, who has set up a task force to re-count the city's inhabitants, has described the census figures as "unlawful".

According to the city's own numbers, there were 302,000 people registered as living in Mannheim on census day in May, as opposed to the 290,000, claimed by the census. Kurz is now keen to account for the apparently missing 12,000.

However, that is likely to prove impossible, since rather than counting individuals, the census relied on complicated statistical measures which took into account various data, including figures from the Federal Employment Agency and public employer bodies.

Less than four percent of the estimated population was interviewed as a representative sample of the city.

Story continues below…

Should the matter go to court, lawyers must determine whether the right to equal treatment and local self-governance, both enshrined in the constitution, have been infringed. If that turns out to be the case, census 2011 could be declared unconstitutional - and hence invalid.

The Local/kkf

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd