Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Demographics of Germany
The population of Germany, with a current population of over 80 million, is primarily German. There are about 7 million foreign residents, the largest single nationality group of whom are Turkish. Germany has been a prime destination for refugees from many developing countries, in part because its constitution long had a clause giving a 'right' to political asylum, but restrictions over the years have made it less attractive.
Germany has one of the world's highest levels of education, technological development, and economic productivity. Since the end of World War II, the number of youths entering universities has more than tripled, and the trade and technical schools of the are among the world's best. With a per capita income level of about $27,000, Germany is a broadly middle class society. Germans also are mobile; millions travel abroad each year. A generous social welfare system provides for universal health care, unemployment compensation , and other social needs. Due to Germany's ageing population and struggling economy, the welfare system came under a lot of strain from the 1990s. This lead the government to push through a wide-ranging programme of belt-tightening reforms, Agenda 2010, including the labour market reforms known as Hartz I - IV.
With unification on October 3, 1990, Germany began the major task of bringing the standard of living of Germans in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) up to that of western Germany. This will be a lengthy and difficult process due to the relative inefficiency of industrial enterprises in the former GDR, difficulties in resolving property ownership in eastern Germany, and the inadequate infrastructure and environmental damage that resulted from decades of communist rule. Since reunification, hundreds of thousands of former East Germans have migrated into western Germany to find work.
Drastic changes in the socioeconomic landscape brought about by reunification have resulted in troubling social problems. Economic uncertainty in eastern Germany is often cited as one factor contributing to extremist violence, primarily from the political right. Confusion about the causes of the current hardships and a need to place blame have found expression in harassment and violence by some Germans directed toward foreigners, particularly non-Europeans. The vast majority of Germans condemn such violence.
Population: 82,504,000 (2004, 4th quarter avg.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 16% (male 6,679,930; female 6,333,110) 15-64 years: 68% (male 29,638,814; female 28,693,630) 65 years and over: 16% (male 5,133,121; female 8,318,803) (2000 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.0% (2004)
Birth rate: 8.71 births/1,000 population (2002)
Death rate: 10.20 deaths/1,000 population (2002)
Net migration rate: 4.01 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)
Sex ratio: |- |at birth: |1.06 male(s)/female |- |under 15 years: |1.05 male(s)/female |- |15-64 years: |1.03 male(s)/female |- |65 years and over: |0.62 male(s)/female |- |total population: |0.96 male(s)/female (2000 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 3.62 deaths/1,000 live births (2001)
Life expectancy at birth:
|total population:||77.44 years|
|female:||80.75 years (2000 est.)|
Total fertility rate: 1.38 children born/woman (2000 est.)
Nationality: noun: German(s) adjective: German
While most of the German citizens are ethnic Germans or naturalized immigrants, there are four other groups of people living in Germany for centuries. They are referred to as "national minorities" (nationale Minderheiten): Danes, Frisians, Roma and Sinti, and Sorbs.
The Sorbs, a Slavic people with about 60,000 members, are located in the Lusatia region of Saxony and Brandenburg. They are last remains of the Slavs that lived in central and eastern Germany since the 7th century.
There is a Danish minority (about 50,000, according to government sources) in the most northern state, Schleswig-Holstein. Eastern and Northern Frisians (60,000 inhabitants define themselves as "Frisians") live at Schleswig-Holstein's western coast, and in the north-western part of Niedersachsen.
Roma people have been in Germany since the Middle Ages. They were persecuted by the National Socialists, and thousands of Roma living in Germany were killed by the Nazi regime. Nowadays, they are spread all over Germany, mostly living in major cities. It is difficult to estimate their exact number, as the Germany government normally does not keep information on the ethnicity of their citizens. There are also many assimilated Sinti and Roma. A vague figure given by the German Department of the Interior is about 70,000. In the 1990s, many Roma moved to Germany from former Yugoslavia. In contrast to the old-established Roma population, the majority of them does not have the German citizenship, they are classified as immigrants or refugees.
Since the 1960s, ethnic Germans from the Soviet Union came to Germany, especially from Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine. During the time of Perestroika, and after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the number immigrants increased heavily.
See also: Volga German
Protestant 38%, Roman Catholic 34%, Muslim 1.7%, unaffiliated or other 26.3% (2001: Prot./RC 32% each, 4.5% Muslim, 32% other). There are currently ~160,000 Jews living in Germany today.
German is Germany's official and most-widely spoken language. Standard German is understood all over the country, while dialects - which can be quite distinct from the standard language - are still in use in everyday speech, especially in rural regions. In contrast with France speakers with regional dialects and accents are generally not frowned on or interpreted as uneducated.
English is the most popular foreign language. In secondary education (in some regiones even earlier), it is taught as first foreign language almost everywhere. Other languages taught at schools are French, Italian, Spanish, and Russian. Dutch is taught in counties bordering the Netherlands. Latin and Greek are part of the syllabus of classical education which is offered by some secondary schools.
According to a 2004 survey, two thirds of Germany's citizens have at least basic knowledge of English. About 20 % consider themselves as speakers of French, followed by those of Russian (18 %), Italian (6.1 %), and Spanish (5.6 %). The high number of Russian speakers is a result of the GDR's close relation to the Soviet Union - more than a half of the Germans in the East speak Russian, compared to 5.5 % in the western part of the country.
Danish, Low German, Sorbian, and Frisian are officially recognized and protected as minority languages per the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in their respective regions. As speakers of Romany are living in all parts of Germany, the federal government has promised to take action to protect the language. Until now, Hesse is the only Land that has followed Berlin's announcement and implemented concrete measures to support speakers of Romany.
|Saterland Frisian||Lower Saxony|
|Low German||Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein|
|Romany||Hesse (see text)|
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 99% (1977 est.) male: NA% female: NA%
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