Monday, June 8, 2015

Germany’s Birthrate Now Lower Than Japan’s

A rather remarkable report out of Germany indicates that the country’s leaders are concerned about whether they can maintain their hegemonic position in Europe in light of the precipitous population declines that are virtually inevitable in coming decades.
Germany’s birth rate has collapsed to the lowest level in the world and its workforce will start plunging at a faster rate than Japan’s by the early 2020s, seriously threatening the long-term viability of Europe’s leading economy. 
A study by the World Economy Institute in Hamburg (HWWI) found that the average number of births per 1,000 population dropped to 8.2 over the five years from 2008 to 2013, further compounding a demographic crisis already in the pipeline. Even Japan did slightly better at 8.4.
Here's a chart of Germany's birth rate (light line) and death rate (dark line) since 1950. Things don't look good, do they?
If your German is a bit rusty, the light line is the birth rate, and the
dark line is the death rate.
Off the topic, it looks like Germany's baby boom came about a decade later than ours. Which isn't surprising – things were pretty grim there in the years right after the war. But a side effect of that is that those German boomers – born in the late fifties and well into the sixties -- will be leaving the workforce in the next decade or two.
Germany’s population is expected to drop from 81mil at present to 67mil in 2060, with an even more severe decline in working-age population as lifespans extend well into the eighties. 
Chancellor Angela Merkel warned in a speech in Davos earlier this year that Germany will lose a net 6m workers over the next 15 years, shrinking gradually over the rest of this decade before going into free-fall.
The International Monetary Fund expects the decline in the 2020s to be more concentrated – and harder to handle – than the gentler paces of decline seen in Japan so far.
The obvious solution is immigration, but immigrants already account for 12% of Germany’s population – which has led to a predictable electoral backlash.

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