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Charlotte Höhn (2000)

Demographic Issues of the 21st Century: The German Perspective*

In: Zeitschrift für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, Vol. 25, 3-4/2000, p. 375-398, Opladen: Verlag Leske + Budrich, ISSN: 0340-2398

From a German point of view, the agenda of the future is set, on the one hand by the consequences of demographic ageing, and on the other by the issues relating to international migration and integration of immigrants. Whilst politicians must devote themselves to finding suitable reforms and actions for the correction of undesired consequences, the task for demographers is to continue and indeed increase their efforts to submit relevant analyses and models which can advise policy-makers.

On the basis of reexamining demographic trends of the 20th Century, together with an analysis of the previous and future anticipated (low) fertility, the increase in life expectancy, the trends and varying assumptions of migration of foreigners and Germans, and of the age structure resulting from this processes, it can be observed that in future immigration may at best be able to equalise imbalances which might arise on the labour market, but it will not be able to prevent demographic ageing.

The problems resulting from the phenomenon of demographic ageing include:

  • reform measures aimed at securing an income in old age, whilst maintaining a fair balance of burdens between the generations,
  • reform measures in the health system and health insurance, and
  • reform measures regarding old age care, taking account of changing types of family and living arrangements.

The following considerations arise concerning migration and integration:

  • a variety of reasons for immigration from a German point of view (humanitarian, economic and constitutional) as well as on the part of those wishing to immigrate (better employment opportunities and social security, but also protection against persecution and (civil) wars or environmental disasters in the countries of origin)
  • measures aimed at successful economic and social integration.

A series of possible options is being discussed.

* Original title: Demographische Probleme des 21. Jahrhunderts aus deutscher Sicht (full text in German only)

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