- According to the latest federal data, Germany’s population has declined for the first time in a decade. The number of people living in Germany in the first half of 2020 fell by 40,000, which was primarily due to a sharp drop in the number of arriving immigrants. (Financial Times)
- NH: Germany’s Federal Statistical Office just released their annual update on the country’s total population. What did they find? The population fell for the first time since 2010. From January to June 2020, the number of people living in Germany dropped by 40,000 to 83.1 million people.
- The immediate reason for the decline was the dramatic recent drop in net immigration into Germany. Between January and June 2020, the flow of immigrants fell by 29%. There was only a net immigration of 74,000 people, compared to 167,000 people during the same six months of 2019.
- The underlining reason for the decline is Germany’s negative "rate of natural increase" (or RNI), which is now -0.2%. RNI refers to population change due solely to new births minus deaths--that is, excluding net immigration. Why is Germany's RNI negative? Well, a society whose total fertility rate is beneath replacement (2.1) must inevitably descend into negative RNI territory. That's pretty much how we demographers define the "replacement rate." And because German fertility has been beneath replacement now for 50 years--ever since 1970--the inevitable happened decades ago.
- In recent years, Germany's population grew slightly due to an ample net inflow of immigrants. This was particularly true in 2016 when Chancellor Angela Merkel took the lead in the EU's resettlement program for Syrian refugees. But with immigration currently down, the RNI is no longer counterbalanced.
- Over the last decade, Germany has been lauded as one of the few western European nations to raise its total fertility rate. This was due to mandatory child leave and other pro-family policies, to the higher fertility rate of new Muslim immigrants, and (perhaps) to a restabilization of the average age of child-bearing. It’s unclear how the pandemic is affecting fertility, but if nation's TFR starts falling again, Germany’s total population could drop even further and faster. (See “Germany’s Baby Boomlet: Will It Last?”)
DID YOU KNOW?
- In Need of Repair. Need someone to fix your refrigerator or your washing machine? So do all of your neighbors. With families staying home 24/7, appliance repair technicians have never seen so much business. Prior to the pandemic, the profession was in decline; historically, the majority of technician jobs were found in industries that have been shrinking, such as department stores and appliance stores. But now, with the phone ringing off the hook, appliance repair companies can’t hire fast enough, and the schools that train them are being forced to put students on waiting lists. There are only two major trade schools dedicated to repair education (one in Texas and another in Ohio), which are attracting lots of interest—much of it from former service industry workers looking for a career change. Industry veterans say that their profession has long been overlooked and hope that this moment opens young people’s eyes to non-college career options that offer good salaries and steady work.