Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Migration and Germany

The German Federal Statistics Office has released the migration flow data for 2006:

As reported by the Federal Statistical Office on the basis of provisional results, 662,000 persons in-migrated to Germany in 2006 and 639,000 persons out-migrated. This results in net inward migration of 23,000 persons. That was 46,000 in-migrations less and 11,000 out-migrations more than in 2005. Consequently, net inward migration decreased strongly from the previous year (–71%), following a decrease by just 4% from 2004 to 2005.

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Auf Widersehen, Pet

This, as many readers may well know, used to be the title of a UK TV sit-com about British building workers seeking to improve their fortunes by working in Germany, but now the times, it seems, have changed.

In 2004 more than 150,000 Germans reported to their town halls that they were going abroad—the highest number since 1884. The real figure is almost certainly much higher. Germany, once the economic engine of Europe, is on the point of becoming a country of net emigration. The museum in Bremerhaven may soon need a new wing with an aeroplane cabin or high-speed railway carriage, today's mode of departure.
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Germany: Fiction vs Reality

The old adage that life is but a faint copy of art took a new twist in Germany this week as:

"Two veteran film-makers confronted Germany's troubled health care and pension systems, throwing themselves into a sensitive debate which many political leaders have shied away from."

Now, not having seen the film in question it is hard to judge the quality of the treatment or the validity of the specific points they make, but the very existence of this contemporary confrontation of life and art, of politics and fiction, and the simple fact that the filmakers are raising the issues they are in the way that they do, while far too many "reality based" politicians are ducking them, seems interesting in and of itself to me:
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German demographics ... food for thought!

The FT had a really telling article about the demographics of Germany I couple of days I thought I would share with you. It is well known that Germany is getting older and that the country's TFR rate is well below replacement levels (1.3). This means that as we go along the relationship between old and young people (can also be operationalized as the dependancy ratio) will change markedly. For visuals of the general outlook of German demographics check out this figure (found under 'population development').
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Life Expectancy in East and West Germany

After so many days of posting topics related one way or another with death, perhaps it is better to get back to life. One good excuse for doing this could be the 25th International Population Conference organised by the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population and which opened yesterday in Tours, France.

You can find the full conference agenda here, and there are topics to suit all tastes for those who are interested.
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The nature of Germany's population as we move forward

It has been some time since anybody on the Demography.Matters team has put something up. I think we are busy at the moment doing other things because it most certainly is not lack of interest and spirit. (Upd. Incidentally Thomas has new post up just before this one) Well, apologies aside ... we are obviously bound to react when the NewEconomist duly prompts us back into action (literally:)) by pointing us to a recent report by Deutche Bank Research about Germany's demographic challenge (PDF-format).
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"Denn eines ist sicher: die Rente"

"One thing is certain: your (state) pension" Like all politicians, Norbert Blüm (the former German Minister of Labour and Social affairs 1982-1998) may not like to be reminded of earlier promises or campaign slogans. That job now falls on his successor Franz Müntefering who is in a hurry and now has to rapidly introduce pension reforms. Actions previously thought unthinkable or simply political suicide suddenly become very real indeed. Annual increases for retirees have been fixed at zero percent for 2004 and 2005. In 2006 they would have to be lowered because average German wages dropped (increases for retirees are tied to wages in Germany) but even Müntefering backed down from that option for the moment. Meanwhile the retirement age will be raised to 67 within 18 years instead of 24. and may even be raised to 68 for civil servants. An unpopular but financially sound move because it´s a win-win situation : people work longer and retire later, thereby reducing future claims. From 130% to 105% of GDP in fact. A welcome relief for a government that´s struggling to get its finances in order.
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Germany gives the family a try

In an effort to boost fertility Germany is taking another small step in 2007 by setting up a "familien politik". This time in the form of "elterngeld" whereby the parent (in Germany by tradition always the mother) who stays at home for the first 12 months receives a 67% compensation of their net income up to a certain maximum, plus if the father also pull his weight that period can be extended by 2 months to 14. Another step, but is it enough?
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No Answers Only Questions

One person who could rightly claim to know more about global ageing and its possible consequences than anyone else in the business is the German Director of the Manheim Research Institute for the Economics of Ageing Axel Börsch-Supan. If there’s a conference being organised, he seems to be there. Actually his comments at both these meet-ups are well worth reading in and of themselves (here, and here).

In a sense Börsch-Supan is almost uniquely qualified to express opinions on the topic since he has both devoted a large part of his professional career to studying the question, and he lives and works in a society which is already reeling under the impact. As he says:
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