Dienstag, 10. März 2009

German demographics

For a while now, Germany's family ministry has tried to put a positive spin on birth rates, which happened to increase slightly both last year and up to Q3 2008.

Unfortunately, there has been such a sharp drop in October and November, that overall births in 2008 are likely to be lower than in 2007.

To anybody who knows about Germany's age structure, this does not come as a surprise: The number of women aged around 40 (and therefore about to leave child-bearing age) is much larger than the number of women in their mid-twenties. If fertility rates stay constant, this automatically implies a decreasing number of births every year going forward.

It seems that fertility rates have been edging up a bit lately, in spite of the recent drop. Still, it doesn't make much difference to population projections if fertility rates are 1.35, 1.40, or 1.45.

The conclusion is simple: Germany's population will inevitably decline significantly during the next 30 years. Anybody who thinks net immigration will even begin to make up for the fall is delusional.

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