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


Salary Differentials between East and West of Germany

Even 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990 there are still enormous salary differentials between the “old western” and the “new eastern” federal states.  Latest surveys of the DIW (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung or the German Institute for Economic Research) show that after a few years of approach the differences in wages has increased during the last ten years. In 1997 the real household net income in West Germany was 1,373 € and in East Germany 1,137. Compared to the year 1990 there had been a great changes in salary. The dispute was less than 300 euros however, in the following years the development remained static. In 2008 the relation between the eastern and western salary changed once again. On the level of feelings the differences are even bigger. Most of the East Germans do not feel as if they are being paid fairly. In contrast the majority in West Germany think that their salary is suitable. In addition the East Germans estimate their circumstances of living much worse than those of the western people. Therefore the household net income is only one of a few indicators to figure out the economic situation of a population. With subjective questions the DIW found out that the people of the new eastern federal states are more dissatisfied than the population of the old federal states. Although the satisfaction of life has increased it has never reached the level of the western satisfaction. It is especially shown in the evaluation of income, standard of life and health. Child care is the only field the East Germans are more satisfied with than the West Germans. Sadly to say, latest statistics show that the unemployment rate in East Germany is almost twice as high in the western part of Germany. The IAB (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung/ Institut for Labour Market and Job Research) believe this is because the labour participation of women in East Germany is still significantly higher than in West Germany. The approach of making things equal between East and West Germany has been the goal of all cabinets since the German Reunification. However, the differences are still enormous and we have to think about the question of what went wrong in the reunification progress.