The “baby bust” in Germany is so severe that the country is unlikely to retain its current economic dominance. The population is expected to drop from 81 million to 67 million by 2060. That big of a drop in both the job market and in the consumer market will be devastating to the German economy. England and France are in much better demographic shape.
From Ambrose, Evans-Pritchard, Germany dominance over as demographic crunch worsens – Telegraph:
Germany’s birth rate has collapsed to the lowest level in the world and its workforce will start plunging at a faster rate than Japan’s by the early 2020s, seriously threatening the long-term viability of Europe’s leading economy.
A study by the World Economy Institute in Hamburg (HWWI) found that the average number of births per 1,000 population dropped to 8.2 over the five years from 2008 to 2013, further compounding a demographic crisis already in the pipeline. Even Japan did slightly better at 8.4.
“No other industrial country is deteriorating at this speed despite the strong influx of young migrant workers. Germany cannot continue to be a dynamic business hub in the long-run without a strong jobs market,” warned the institute.
The crunch is aggravated by the double effect of a powerful post-war baby boom followed by a countervailing baby bust – the so-called “Pillenknick”. The picture in Portugal (nine) and Italy (9.2) is almost as bad.
The German government expects the population to shrink from 81m to 67m by 2060 as depressed pockets of the former East Germany go into “decline spirals” where shops, doctors’ practices, and public transport start to shut down, causing yet more people to leave in a vicious circle.A number of small towns in Saxony, Brandenburg and Pomerania have begun to contemplate plans for gradual “run-off” and ultimate closure, a once unthinkable prospect.
Chancellor Angela Merkel warned in a speech in Davos earlier this year that Germany will lose a net 6m workers over the next 15 years, shrinking gradually over the rest of this decade before going into free-fall.
The International Monetary Fund expects the decline in the 2020s to be more concentrated – and harder to handle – than the gentler paces of decline seen in Japan so far.
Britain and France are in far better shape, with an average of 12.5 births per 1,000 in from 2008-2013. The IMF expects both countries to overtake Germany in total GDP by the middle of century and possibly even by 2040, implying a radical shift in the European balance of power.
HT: Carl Vehse, who comments, “Interestingly, the United States has a higher abortion rate (22.6 % of known pregnancies) than France (21.4%), Japan (19.1%), or Germany (14.4%).” So this is not a matter of abortion, as such. Can anyone account for why so many Germans have stopped having children?