Germany, population See also Germany, immigration.

2017‘Despite an influx of 1.2m refugees over the past two years, Germany’s population faces near-irreversible decline. According to predictions from the UN in 2015, two in five Germans will be over 60 by 2050 and Europe’s oldest country will have shrunk to 75m from 82m. Since the 1970s, more Germans have been dying than are born. Fewer births and longer lives are a problem for most rich countries. But the consequences are more acute for Germany, where birth rates are lower than in Britain and France. If Germany is a warning for others, its eastern part is a warning for its west. If it were still a country, East Germany would be the oldest in the world. Nearly 30 years after unification the region still suffers the aftershock from the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, when millions—mostly young, mostly women—fled for the west. Those who remained had record-low birth rates. “Kids not born in the ’90s, also didn’t have kids in the 2010s. It’s the echo of the echo,” says Frank Swiaczny from the Federal Institute for Population Research, a think-tank in Wiesbaden. The east’s population will shrink from 12.5m in 2016 to 8.7m by 2060, according to government statistics,’ (Fading echoes,The Economist 15th April 2017, p.63).

2014: ‘Germany has one of the world’s most rapidly ageing and shrinking populations, even though an uptick in immigration has temporarily halted its overall decline since 2011. By 2060 it is estimated that the total number of Germans will have tumbled by 20m, equivalent to Romania’s population today. But decline is unevenly spread. Some cities are growing. Other areas, mainly in the east and the countryside, are emptying,’ (‘German demography: Ageing but supple,’ The Economist 14th March 2015, p.28).

2013: ‘Germany is changing fast. Its population is the oldest in Europe, and the number of people of working age is about to shrink sharply. A widespread shortage of workers will drive Germany to welcome more immigrants and encourage women to spend more time in paid work, which will profoundly affect its economy and its society,’ (Zanny Minton Beddoes in The Economist – Special Report Germany, 15th July 2013, p.7). “Over the next ten years [Germany’s] workforce will shrink by some 6.5m, the equivalent of all the workers in Bavaria,’ (‘The reluctant hegemon’, The Economist 15th June 2013, p.11).