An increasing number of German pension recipients are retiring abroad

An increasing number of German pension recipients are retiring abroad

Warmer climes are drawing an increasing number of pensioners in Germany away from the land of their working lives and towards southern hotspots of retirement relaxation.

More Germans are retiring abroad

According to a report by the German Pension Insurance (Deutsche Rentenversicherung), an increasing number of pensioners in Germany are leaving the country after their final day on the job. Of the 20 million pensioners who have worked in Germany, 7 percent now live abroad.

Citing data from the Deutsche Rentenversicherung, FAZ reported that in 1,71 million cases the insurance body transferred pension payments to recipients in another country in 2022. This figure is almost a third higher than 20 years ago.

Members of the “guest worker” (Gastarbeiter) generation are thought to make up a large portion of the retirees moving away from Germany. Many of the now-retired “guest worker” generation came to Germany from countries such as Italy, Spain, Greece and Turkey between the 1950s and 1970s in order to fill northern Europe’s post-war worker shortage and escape widespread unemployment in southern Europe.

“Many of the former workers are now of retirement age and are returning to their countries of origin with the pension they have earnt in Germany,” Chairperson of the German Pension Insurance Association (DRV), Christian Amsinck, told FAZ.

German pensioners opting to retire to Italy

EU member states currently make up the majority of countries to which the Deutsche Rentenversicherung transfers pensioners their payments, with Italy, Spain and Austria being the top three picks.  

In 2022, 200.000 payments were transferred to countries outwith the EU, with the largest portion being to 67.000 retirees in the United States

The people receiving these payments are a mix of those with a German passport and those who have another citizenship but have lived and worked in Germany at some point in their lives. The latter group is now, however, in the minority; over the last 20 years, the number of German citizens receiving their pensions abroad has increased sharply, by almost two-thirds.

Thumb image credit: Aleksandrova Olga /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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