German population shrinks for the first time in 10 years

German population shrinks for the first time in 10 years

For the first time since 2011, the population of Germany did not grow in 2020. The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) has two possible explanations. 

German population stagnates at 83,2 million in 2020

The population of Germany stagnated last year, bringing a 10-year upward trajectory to an end. As Destatis announced on Monday, the number of people living in Germany in 2020 remained at 83,2 million. In more precise numbers, the number of inhabitants actually decreased slightly, by 12.000. Between the years of 2011 and 2019, the population grew steadily from 80,3 million to 83,2 million. 

According to Destatis, this latest development can be explained by two factors: on the one hand, net migration (the number of people who came to live in Germany minus the number of people who moved away) fell from 294.000 in 2019 to 209.000 in 2020, according to preliminary figures. 

At the same time, the birth deficit worsened, with the number of deaths exceeding the number of births by approximately 212.000. In 2019, the deficit was around 161.000. “This means that the lower net immigration could only approximately compensate for the birth deficit,” Destatis explained. “But it was no longer sufficient for a population increase.”

Average age in Germany rises to 44,6 years

Despite an increase in mortality in 2020, related to the coronavirus pandemic, the number of elderly people in Germany grew once again in 2020. The biggest increase was recorded among the over-80s age group, which now makes up 4,5 percent of the population. The number of senior citizens aged between 60 and 79 also increased slightly. 

In contrast, the 20-59 age group shrank by 0,4 percent to comprise 43,7 million people at the end of 2020. The number of children and adolescents under the age of 20 remained almost unchanged at 15,3 million. Overall, the average age of the population increased by 0,1 to 44,6 years. 

At a state level, the population increased most in Bavaria (15.000), followed by Lower Saxony (10.000) and Brandenburg (9.000). On the other hand, North Rhine-Westphalia, Berlin, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and Bremen all experienced population losses. In the western federal states, the population increased by 24.000 inhabitants, while it decreased by 30.000 in the eastern states. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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