Proportion of young people in German population sinks to historic low

Proportion of young people in German population sinks to historic low

Germany has long been coping with a rapidly-ageing population, but now the scope of the problem has been laid bare with a new statistic: according to figures from the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), the proportion of young people in Germany’s population has fallen to an all-time low. 

8,4 million 15 to 24-year-olds in Germany in 2020

Of the 83,2 million people living in Germany at the end of last year, 8,4 million were aged between 15 and 24 years, Destatis announced last week. This means that the so-called Generation Z makes up 10,1 percent of the total population.

It also means that the proportion of young people in the German population has fallen to its lowest level since records began in 1950 - both proportionally and in absolute terms. With the exception of the year 2015, the number and proportion of 15 to 24-year-olds in the German population has been falling steadily since 2005. 

Germany’s youth population reached a peak back in the 1980s, when they made up 16,7 percent of the population. In 1983, statisticians counted 13,1 million people in this age group living in Germany. 

Ageing population threatens German social security system

Broken down by federal state, the city-state of Bremen has the highest proportion of young people, who make up 11,1 percent of the population. It is followed by Baden-Württemberg (10,8 percent) and Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia (10,6 percent each). 

The states with the lowest share of 15 to 24-year-olds are Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (8,2 percent), Saxony-Anhalt (8,1 percent) and Brandenburg (7,9 percent). 

The issue of an ageing population has long been on the agenda in Germany, which as a country is facing uncomfortable questions about the sustainability of its pay-as-you-go pension system and the rest of the social security system, with fewer people working to support the older generation.

Most recently, the federal government opted to increase contributions to long-term care insurance for people without children, on the basis that childless individuals have a lower financial burden and will ultimately require more support from the state in old age, without any offspring to care for them. 



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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