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Germany: population and demographics

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To understand different aspects of the demographic situation in Germany, the issue should be considered in more detail.

The birth rate and population density

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The demography of the country is being closely monitored by the Federal Statistical Office of Germany. More than 41,7 million women and about 40,6 million men live on the territory of Germany. The population decreased by more than a million over the past few decades. Population growth in 2019 works out at about -0,17% (-109,875 people in 2019), with an average of 1,5 births per woman. The German Government is spending several million dollars yearly on family subsidies to reverse a declining population.

A population density in the country is about 235,6/square kilometer. In spite of the large population, Germany has only four cities with more than a million of inhabitants (Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Cologne). A great number of people live in the rural regions or small towns. Four groups are considered national minorities in Germany. They are Danes, Sorbs, Frisians, the Roma and Sinti.

Life expectancy

Life expectancy is constantly rising. It is 83 for women and 78 years for men. But despite that, the longevity in Germany is much lower compared to other European Union countries. In 2017 the EU Commission published a report which studied the health of people in the countries. According to it, Germany ranks 18th in the European Union. The most common causes of death are cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Different bad habits like smoking or alcohol abuse, overweight, physical inactivity are among other underlying causes.

The ageing of the populations

Germany has one of the oldest populations in the modern European Union. In 2018 the average age increased to 44,7. About 17,8% of the population is under the age of 18 years, 60,3% is between 19 and 64, and approximately 21,9% is over 65. The infant mortality rate is quite low, 4 deaths per 1,000 newborns. The main reason for the low birth rate is a higher education. The young people prefer a well-paid job and career achievements to family. The proportion of men who want to have children (70%) is higher than the proportion of women (61%).

Nowadays, Germany is a country with the highest levels of education, technological development and economic productivity in the world. It is therefore considered that the Federal Republic is a middle-class society. Germany has per capita income greater than most European countries. A lot of Germans travel abroad every year. The Social Welfare System in the country provides different social programs like unemployment compensation, maternity provisions and child benefits, job retraining or pensions.

The migration process

According to the United Nation Population Fund, Germany ranks third among the countries with the largest number of international migrants (the first two are the USA and Saudi Arabia). Nowadays, more than 16 million people are the descendants of immigrants. The majority of them reside in western Germany, including the capital city. The largest ethnic group are the Turkish. These days a large number of them have already acquired the nationality of Germany.

A lot of immigrants come from other European Union countries like Poland, Italy or Romania. Many Russians, Ukrainians and Syrians also live there. To solve the problem of low birth rate, over the past fifty years the German Government has been keen to encourage immigration. Moreover, the country needs immigrants to fill hundreds of thousands of job vacancies.

These days, however, Germany has many problems linked with migrants. In 2015 more than a million refugees came to the country from war-affected areas in the Middle East and North Africa. Thus, the number of Muslims in Germany has increased significantly. At the same time, about three and a half million Germans are living abroad.

The religious beliefs

With regard to religious matters, most Germans are Christian, both Roman Catholic (29,9%) and Protestant (29,8%). The second largest religion in the country is Islam (6,1% in 2017). Germany ranks second among the European countries with the largest Muslim population. The majority of people, however, are non-believers (about 34%). Among other religions in the country there are Jews, Baptists, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Orthodox. In schools the students have religious studies. The members of ethnic minorities have the right to receive the basics of their religion.

Could anything change in the nearest future? Most experts say that the great demographic changes in Germany are unlikely in the short term. It is expected that the demographic situation will improve by 2020, but there will be less than 80 million people in German by 2050.

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