Germany came into existence when the Prussians unified the provinces previously belonging to the Holy Roman Empire. That only happened in 1871, making Germany a relatively young country. As a new dominant player in Europe, the balance of power was disturbed. World War One started, and was followed by the racialist National-Socialists. The Nazi’s pushed the Germans into the second World War. And lost.
Germany’s post-war revival was an economic miracle, but the guilt from the war is carried within the Germans to this day. They had to become the opposite of the evil nationalists, and so they opened their borders. Germany was no longer only for Germans.
Immigrants in Germany
Germany has the highest percentage of immigrants of all the 27 EU members. Over 10 million people living in Germany today were born outside of Germany. That is about 12% of the German population, on a total of just over 82 million. Most of these immigrants come from other European countries. The biggest immigrant groups are from Turkey, Russia, Poland and Italy. Germany is the second most popular destination for immigrants in the world after the United States.
The United States, however, has a total population of over 300 million, over three times as many as Germany.
The German government has encouraged immigration since the 1950’s. One of the reasons they give is their ageing population, while another reason is supposed labor shortages. Although Germany tries to attract foreigners to work in Germany, Germans themselves have left the country. Over three million Germans are living abroad.
Islam in Germany
Islam is the second largest religion in Germany, with an estimated 6.1% of the population according to a 2017 Pew Research Survey. Germany has the second largest Muslim population in Europe, at nearly 5 million. This will likely grow significantly in the coming decades.
The percentage of Muslims in Germany is expected to rise to nearly 20% by 2050, assuming a high immigration scenario. Yet, keep in mind that Germany needs a high migration scenario simply to keep its population stable. That’s why this 20% of the population would be 17 million Muslims, the population as a whole would still be just over 80 million.
Germany’s fertility rate is 1.45. The average woman is already 29 years old when she has her first child. Unsurprisingly, for many older mothers, the second child never comes. This extremely low fertility rate is the reason Germany’s population is bound to shrink. Despite the waves of immigrants entering Germany, it still shrinks. Moreover, it ages. Germany’s median age is the second-oldest in the world, at 46 years old.
Muslims in Germany have a fertility rate of 1.9. Although having half a child per woman more than the non-Muslim Germans, it is still below the replacement rate. It is worth highlighting that many Muslims in Germany are Turks that arrived decades ago, or Bosnians that fled during the Yugoslav war. The newly arriving Muslims are mostly African and Middle-Eastern.
Nonetheless there is a recent upswing in births in Germany, almost reaching 800.000 last year. What we do not know is what percentage of those births is due to immigrants.
University degrees do not help the fertility rate. Around 45% of women with a degree is childless. A focus on career likely made these women lose interest in having children, or they were too old by the time they started trying. The childlessness rate for German women on a whole is 30%. The highest rate in the world. Some women may still be able to change their mind and have children, but the cohort born in 1967 has ended their child-bearing age at a childlessness rate of 20%.
It appears Konrad Adenauer was wrong when he claimed ”Germans will always have children.”
Depending whether immigration levels will be ‘high’ or ‘low’, Germany is projected to have a population of 67 to 73 million inhabitants by 2060. Ten to fifteen million less than now. Keep in mind, neither scenarios show ‘zero’ migration. That situation is discussed at the end of this article.
Despite an upswing in births, the upswing in migrants is larger still. In 2015 1.200.000 people immigrated to Germany. One point two million, of which the majority is from Asia and Africa. Compared to just over 700.000 births, it means migrants form a greater part of Germany’s new population than births do. Moreover, assuming those 700.000 births are evenly distributed across Germany’s ethnicities, less than 600.000 new Germans were born. This means there are more than twice as many immigrants as there are German births in 2015.
|Rank||Ethnic Group||Share of German Population|
The information on the table above is taken from World Atlas.
In Frankfurt, one of the biggest cities in Germany, native Germans are already a minority. Yet that is only the start. Research shows us that by 2060, without migration, there will be less than 40 million native Germans left in total. By the end of the century, that number drops to just over 20 million.
If Germany wishes to have enough immigrants to keep its population stable around 80 million, Germans will be a minority in their own country by 2060.
Other research shows that with current migration, the age group between 20-30 year old could turn majority non-German by the early 2020’s. Once there is a non-German majority among the youth, it is only a matter of time until the ageing Germans die off and the entire country will have Germans as a minority.
Already, 44% of Germans say there are so many foreigners in their country that it does not feel like home anymore.