After seeing how the Japanese population is subsiding in our last blog post, I thought I’d keep with the same theme today and look at another economic powerhouse at the other side of the world: Germany. And demographically, the situation is similar in Germany to that in Japan: too few babies; an ageing population and the only alternative to a falling population being large numbers of immigrants. The latest outlook from the German statistics office (Destatis) is grim. As Deutsche Welle reports:
“…in 2013, there were 80.8 million people in Germany, [Destatis] expects the number to drop to between 67.6 and 73.1 people in 2060.”
While the German population will continue to grow for the next few years, it is inevitable that it will then decline: the statisticians say that there are just far too few new Germans being born to change that. Quartz.com quotes the statisticians report:
“In the long term, a decline in Germany’s population is inevitable. The number of deaths will increasingly exceed the number of births. The positive balance of immigration into and emigration from Germany cannot close this gap for good.”
As its population declines, Germany will also get older and the number of working age people will decrease. Those aged 20 to 64 years old are expected to decline from 49 million in 2013 to between 34 million and 38 million in 2060. The latter figure will represent just over half of the population. On the other hand, the number of Germans aged over 65 will grow to 23 million in 2060. This will be around a third of the population in 2060 as opposed to 20 per cent over 65 years old today.
Although immigration may ameliorate the decline (it has been doing that for a while now in Germany) Quartz notes that this is not necessarily a solution that can continue indefinitely:
“…like several other European countries, growing discontent with migrants has spawned anti-immigration movements that are putting pressure on politicians to tighten border policies.”
What is of more global concern is that Japan and Germany are two of the four largest economies in the World (by nominal GDP). If their population decline spills over into economic decline, then we will all feel the results.