Number of deaths in Germany rose by 5 percent in 2020

Number of deaths in Germany rose by 5 percent in 2020

The number of deaths in Germany increased significantly in 2020, while the number of births and marriages fell. While it is clear that the coronavirus pandemic had a huge impact on weddings, its impact on last year’s death rate is harder to quantify.

Five percent more people died in Germany in 2020

New figures from the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) show that the number of deaths in Germany increased significantly in 2020, a year almost entirely dominated by the coronavirus pandemic. Around 986.000 people died last year, 46.000 more than in 2019. This corresponds to an increase of five percent. 

However, this increase cannot be solely attributed to the impact of the pandemic. “Part of this increase is due to calendar and demographic issues,” the statisticians said. “2020 was a leap year, so the additional day results in an increase of around 3.000 deaths compared to the previous year.” 

Rising life expectancies and corresponding shifts in the age structure of the population will have also had an impact. Destatis writes that, taking this into account, they would have expected an increase in deaths of around 1 or 2 percent in 2020. 

However, this still leaves around 2,5 to 3,5 percent of the increase unaccounted for. According to the Robert Koch Institute, as of Monday morning 81.624 people have died in Germany in connection with coronavirus

Pandemic had little impact on birth rate, but marriages plummeted 

What is clearer, however, is that that pandemic apparently had little effect on the number of births. Around 773.000 children were born in Germany last year - around 5.000 or 0,6 percent fewer than in 2019. This continues the decline that has occurred annually since the last sharp rise in the number of births in 2016. Nonetheless, 2020 still saw one of the five highest birth rates since 1999. 

Preliminary data shows that 212.000 more people died than were born in Germany last year. This so-called birth deficit was down at 161.000 in 2019. The last time the yearly birth deficit was so high was back in 2013. 

At the same time, the pandemic had a clear impact on the number of marriages registered last year: just 373.000 couples tied the knot, 43.000 (10 percent) fewer than in 2019. The decline was particularly pronounced in April 2020, when the number of marriages was down 37 percent.



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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