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


The significance of estonian language for the immigrants on the labour market in Estonia

Immigrants with the command of the Estonian language are more successful on the labour market in Estonia. The Immigrant Population Survey reveals that in case of immigrant occupational career the skill of the Estonian language is more important than the immigrant background, Estonian Statistics announced.

In spite of the rapid changes on the labour market recently, which have been mainly expressed through the growth of unemployment big differences of occupational division remained comparing immigrants with and without the Estonian language skill.

The comparison of native Estonians and Estonian-speaking immigrants indicates that there are some differences between the distribution of occupations in the groups, but they do not amount to a confirmation of occupational division. However, signs of division can be detected in the distribution of occupations among immigrants with the skill of the Estonian language and immigrants without the skill of the Estonian language. More than a half of immigrants without the skill of the Estonian language were employed as skilled workers or operators. The share of unskilled workers was also rather high in this group (13%). The share of persons employed as managers, specialists of different levels or officials was 21%.

The group of employed native Estonians and immigrants with the skill of the Estonian language included the highest number of top specialists, mid-level specialists and officials. These occupation categories were also dominant among the immigrants with the skill of the Estonian language — top specialists, mid-level specialists and officials even accounted for more than a half of the employed persons in this group (54%), this indicator was even larger than that among the native Estonians (37%). The percentage of managers, senior officials or legislators was the highest among the native population of the Estonian nationality — 17%. Among immigrants with the skill of the Estonian language there were 11% of managers, senior officials or legislators. Another characteristic in the distribution of occupations among native Estonians and immigrants with the skill of the Estonian language was the relatively small percentage of unskilled workers (less than 5%).

The Immigrant Population Survey was conducted by Statistics Estonia for the first time in 2008. Immigrant population has been defined as the people living in Estonia whose parents were born in a foreign state. In addition, if only one non-Estonian-born parent is known, the respondent is considered as a part of immigrant population. In 2008, the share of immigrant population among the permanent residents of Estonia was 24%. Native Estonians are the residents of the Estonian ethnic nationality whose both or one parent was born in Estonia.

Migration – good for recipient and sending countries?

According to the World Bank in year 2000 36% of migrants in 20th richest countries were highly skilled. Do sending and receiving countries benefit or suffer from high-skilled migration? Without immigrants, ageing societies with low natural birthrate would have to cope with economic slowdown. Especially economies in America and Europe with increasing demand for high-skilled workers and in need for people willing to do hard and unpleasant jobs. Not enough young natives have the right skills or motivation, so the rich must hope that outsiders will keep coming. And they will as long as such wealth differentials persist, the draw will continue. It is more complicated issue in sending countries. Poorer countries could benefit from emigration in general till the natural birthrate is higher than emigration rate, then emigration could lead to lower poverty and higher wage level (examples Belize, El Salvador, Guyana, Jamaica). Although remittances and new skills are claimed to be beneficial there is no guarantee emigrants will return. Exporting better brains will harm sending economy in long term. Poor and middle-income countries in North-Africa, Pacific and Caribbean region face shortages of skilled workforce, well qualified workforce will emigrate leaving most critical jobs unfilled at home, so there hardly will be potential for economic catch up.See more Economist.com