Population movement in Germany

Against the backdrop of the low figures of the birth- and mortality level, population movements become more and more important regarding the population development.

Population movement affects the number of the population as well as the structure, e.g. by age, gender, education and many more. Thereby the reasons for the movement of the people are changing over time.

After the Second World War Germany became an important country of immigration in Europe. During the 1960’s and 1970’s especially through the immigration of so called “immigrant workers”. And after the ban on recruitment in 1973 mainly through family reunion of these workers.  In the 1990’s the flow of migration was minted by resettlers, asylum seekers and refugees. Post millennial and notably in the last years there was a significant increase in immigration of well educated workers.

Migration of foreigners to Germany

The major part of foreigners who immigrate or emigrate to or from Germany have their origin in European countries including Turkey (in 2011 more than 75%). The big increase in 2011 can be narrowed down into two regions:

– On the one hand, eastern countries like Poland, Hungary, Lithuania and Estonia, because the free movement of workers from the EU in these countries pertains also on the German labour market. Romania and Bulgaria also loosened their regulations concerning the labour markets since 2011.

– The second group consists of countries like Greece, Spain and Italy, because the population is hit very hard by the economic crisis. They cherish great expectation concerning job opportunities because of the successful economy in Germany.

Furthermore we can notice that the education level of the immigrants has increased steadily.

Migration of Germans

The emigration of the German population was relative minor until the 1990’s excluding the time directly after the Second World War. In the mid-1970’s approximately 50,000 people annually emigrated abroad. This figure increased over time and in 2008 there was a new peak with 175,000 emigrants. Since this time the numbers are slightly declining with 155,000 in 2009 and 141,000 in 2010.

Even the mobility of the German population rose since the 1970’s. This is a consequence of the globalisation. The age of the emigrants in 2009 amounts 31.6 years for women and 34 years for men in average. Compared with the average of the German population (45.4 years for women and 42.3 years for men) the age of the emigrants can be described as rather young.

Approximately two out of three of the Germans are emigrating in European countries, whereas Switzerland had been the most popular country with 22,000 emigrants. Classical immigration countries beyond the European Union are the United States, Canada and Australia.

Migration balance

In current times the Germans are an aging and shrinking population. Due to the fact that the birth rate is further declining, the evolution of the population depends on the migration balance.

In general Germany is characterized through a high migration capacity. Thus, a high number of immigrations is faced with a high number of emigrations. From 1991 to 2010 approximately 14 million people from abroad immigrated to Germany. In the same time roughly 11 million people with a migration background emigrated from Germany. In the last years the numbers of immigrations are more and more declining.

The Federal Office of Statistics predicts an immigration-surplus of approximately 200,000 people annually. However this number amounts only 154.000 in 2010, what demonstrates that this assumption is probably too positive.

The conclusion is that Germany has to take the development of the population serious and should try to influence it by means of an active labour market policy to kept their successful economy.

written by Matthias Lerch, Nicolas Lauer, Timo Bug


Baltic states demographic projections are the worst in the EU

Population in all three Baltic states is decreasing and demographic projections are the worst of the European Union.

As Ivars Indans showed in his presentation a the Baltic countries have a record low unemployment figures, which limits the labor market, economic development and investment attraction. In Latvia and Lithuania the situation is even more affected because of  mass emigration. As the author acknowledges, the problem is the lack of labor resources.

The research emphasizes that labor market openness is one of the essential prerequisites for innovative design and technology development. Therefore, the long-term future development is linked with the need for immigrants. It determines not only the demand of market economy, but also the demographics and the aging population problem.

During the research Indans found that, although the number of Latvian migrant workers are not limited, administrative procedure is complex, inconvenient, time consuming and relatively high employer costs. This in turn reduces the domestic enterprises to attract legal workers.

The author of the research recommends  to make the market demand research, to develop the labor force attachment programs, improve the structure of diplomatic work to involve local governments, as well as broaden the understanding of integration.

Indans emphasized  that in the EU Member States there are different models and schemes to attract foreign labor. Most often, each country sets itself the requisite number of immigrants, with preference being given to local and EU or European Economic Area national workforce.

As the author concludes since the restoration of independence in the Baltic countries negative approach to migration policy have been dominated.

The study presentation of Citizenship and Migration Board representatives acknowledged that such academic research is needed, but in practice, and  studies reflect the situation is fundamentally different. At the same time, researchers often reveals a significant and considerable nuances.

While the Latvian Employers’ Confederation of the representatives expressed the hope that the authorities finally start to analyze the industry and their weaknesses in order to anticipate possible scenarios for future labor market. The Confederation maintains that it does not require immediate open and accessible as possible to make the Latvian labor market for migrant workers, but believes that in the near future should be the sectoral studies, thus setting the trend.