Germany Faces Economic Downturn with Plummeting Birth Rate and Aging Population
By Hilary White
ROME, November 20, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Germany, the juggernaut of the European economic scene, could be facing a critical downturn over the next five decades because of its dramatically shrinking birth rate and dropping population, a new government report has said. The falling and aging population will result in the eventual disintegration of Germany's generous social welfare programmes, including old-age pensions, the report warns.
The Federal Statistics Office projected a drop in population from 82 million in 2008, the largest in the European Union, to between 65 million and 70 million. By 2060, 34 percent of the population will be older than 65 and 14 percent will be 80 or more, up from 20 percent and 5 percent respectively last year.
"While the number of older people increases, fewer and fewer people will be of an age at which they can work," Roderich Egeler, the head of the statistics office said in the report. "This will have consequences for the social security system".
Germany's 82 million citizens make it the most populated country in the EU, accounting for 16.4 per cent of the total European population. This is followed by France with 64 million, the
United Kingdom with 61 million, and Italy with 60 million. None of these countries have a birth rate that allows for the population to remain steady and all rely upon immigration to maintain population and the work force.
Germany Latvia, Slovenia and Italy are among the EU countries with the lowest percentage of young people. In these countries, only 1 out every 8 inhabitants is under 14. This is contrasted with countries in Africa who have some of the youngest average populations in the world.
In Burundi, the median age for men is 16.5 years and for women it is 17 years with the birth rate at 41.42 births/1,000 population. 6.33 children are born per woman. Life expectancy is low, however, at an average 51.2 years for men and 53.01 years for women.
In Germany, the median age for men is 42.6 years, for women, 45.2 years with 8.18 births/1,000 population and an overall fertility rate of 1.41 children born per woman. Pensions must stretch over an average life expectancy of 76.26 years for men, and 82.42 years for women.
The government's report follows a report from another think tank last week that said Germany has one of the most elderly populations of the 27 states of Europe and is facing an eventual demographic "catastrophe" and bankruptcy of its welfare programmes.
The Federal Statistics Office report said that the number of pensioners who will have to be supported by working-age people could almost double by 2060.