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Migrants reverse German population decline

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Migrants reverse German population decline
The Germany population is on the rise again. Photo: DPA
11:38 CEST+02:00
The German population rose by almost half a million in 2014, the biggest increase in almost a quarter century, the Federal Office of Statistics (destatis) reported on Thursday.

The increase in the number of people living in Germany of 430,000 meant that the country's population rose to 81.2 million.

While this was the largest increase since 1992, it was some way off the 700,000 extra inhabitants Germany took on in that year.

The surprise numbers for 2014 go against a decade-long trend, as the German population has been falling steadily over the past decade. And the extra half a million still doesn't make up for that fall - 1.4 million fewer people live in Germany in 2014 than did in 2004.

Experts estimate that Germany's population could collapse over the coming decades, and politicians have made it a priority to encourage immigration to address the problem of one of the lowest birth rates in the world.

And strong inward migration is in fact entirely responsible for the increase in population in 2014.

While the number of German citizens living in the country fell slightly from 2013's figure - by 0.1 percent to 73.7 million - this was more than made up for by the number of foreign citizens living in the Bundesrepublik (Federal Republic) which rose by a massive seven percent to 7.5 million.

Germany's strong economy has attracted migrants from other EU member states, and made it the most desirable destination for refugees fleeing war in Africa and the Middle East.

But a slightly better rate of births to deaths in comparison with 2013 also eased the decline seen in recent years.

Although 153,000 more people died than were born in 2014, this was an improvement on 2013 when the number was 212,000.

Statistics released by destatis in August showed that 715,000 babies were born in Germany in 2014, the highest number since 2002 and a 4.8 percent increase on 2013.

Meanwhile Berlin saw the largest proportional increase in population of all the German states in 2014 – the statistics show that in 2014 the capital's population rose by 1.4 percent. Bavaria, Germany's second largest state, had the biggest increase in actual numbers - 87,300.

Only three states – Saarland, Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt – witnessed a decrease in population.

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