German population shrinks
5 April 2004 ,
5 April 2004
WIESBADEN - Germany saw a net drop of 143,000 people in 2003 when the number of deaths rose while the number of births dropped, government officials reported Monday.
The Federal Statistics Office said the number of deaths increased 1.6 percent to 858,000, while births fell 1.3 percent to 715,000 in the year.
Parallel to the fewer births, there was also a drop in the number of marriages, to 383,000 last year, compared with 388,000 in 2002, the office said.
The net population drop of 143,000 last year compared with a falloff of around 120,000 in 2002.
The figures come at a time when Germany's governing and opposition parties are wrangling over new legislation on immigration. With the domestic population declining, immigration advocates say that Germany will need to open its doors more to foreigners.
Germany's population at the end of 2002 was counted at 82.537 million, with the statistics office figures showing that the number of foreigners included 7.348 million.
The biggest group among the foreigners were ethnic Turks, at just over 1.9 million, more than triple the next largest group, people from the former Yugoslavia (591,500).
Besides the issue of maintaining population through immigration in order to keep Germany's social framework steady, is the related question of a society getting steadily older as the birth rate declines and life expectancy increases.
In a report last year, the Wiesbaden office projected that by the year 2050, more than half the population will be over 48 years old and one-third 60 years or older.
At that point, Germany's population is seen having dropped to around 75 million, or the level of the year 1963, according to the office's projections.
Subject: German news