update: In the past week the news about a further decline in the birthrate created quite a discussion in the German media which took me by surprise. For some reason the critical barrier which made people take notice was births slipping under the 700.000 mark. Actually this isn´t remarkable nor shocking, at least for anyone who has followed the matter for a few years. The population projections have predicted this trend for years and it is mentioned in countless reports and papers by many institutions, demographers, analysts and researchers.
The decline in births isn´t the issue here but the fact that the population has already started to decrease (slightly), mainly due to a lower net immigration. So I´ve decided to come back to this post and emphasize why it´s the immigration that matters.
The real issue that I was trying to point out in my original post was net immigration. Since 2001 this has been steadily dropping to about 90-80.000. This is odd for a number of reasons if you start to look closer at the figures. I´ve compiled this graph at the top with immigration and emigration figures from the Statistisches Bundesamt for the period 1950-2004.
My focus is on the period after 1990. After the the fall of the Berlin wall, German immigration jumped to record levels (1,5 mil in 1992) mainly due to a influx from migrants from eastern Europe. After 1992 the number of immigrants slowly dropped. Since 1995 the numbers of immigrants continues to hover around 900-750.000 yet since 2003 the net inflow has dropped to 90-80.000. Why is this happening? Right now I can only give the first part of the answer : emigration. More and people are emigrating and if this trend continues Germany might become an emigrant country (at least for a short run before immigration picks up again). This aspect, that countries that face population decline might also see an increase in emigration is something I´ve never seen mentioned as a credible option in theory before. Yet the numbers are telling a different story.
The 2nd part is why people are emigrating: Is it due to the economic downturn? Immigrants moving on or returning home? What are the factors for this increase? I´ll be looking deeper into this in another post. In the meantime I welcome comments on this issue.
Germany´s net migration stays low.
The German Statistisches
Bundesamt has published its official population prognosis for 2005.
The German population will decline slightly from 82,5 mil to 82,45 mil in 2005. Aprox. 820-830.000 people died in 2005 , slightly up from 818.000 in 2004. The main cause in 2005 for the drop was a further decline in births, from 706.000 in 2004 down to 680-690.000 in 2005. Net migration into Germany continues to stay low with aprox. 80-90.000 people compared with 83.000 in 2004. In itself it´s curious that German net migration is so low because Eurostat reports that EU wide net migration is on the increase after a dip during the mid 1990´s.
This will be the third year in a row Germany experienced a decline. The last time Germany experienced a decline was in 1998. Back then it was also due to a large drop in net migration.