WITTENBERGE, July 22, 2004 ( – German officials are waking up to the realization that their current pension system is headed for imminent collapse. The present demographic trend reveals that, by 2050, more then half the population will be age 65 or older.

Although the trend is uniform across Europe, Germans may feel the pinch most, because of their highly state-funded pension system. Compared to other countries such as the UK, pensioners in Germany receive twice as much money from the public purse as their British counterparts.  In order to maintain the pension system, there must be at least four working-age people for every three retirees—by 2035 every worker will support one retired person.  Pensions in Germany have been frozen for the first time—a trend met with public protest. Officials are agitating that an increased burden of the pension responsibility be placed on the private sector.  News headlines covering the issue are increasingly common. Germany’s best-selling book, Das Methusalem-Komplott (The Methuselah Conspiracy), highlights the grim economic reality that faces the country’s aging population.  Read BBC coverage:

Read related coverage:  Most Major Industrial Countries Unprepared for Coming Population Ageing Crisis and Labour Shortage Low Birthrates Causing European Pension Funds to Run Out