The German people have emerged from a number of different Germanic peoples: Franks, Saxons, Bavarians, Swabians, Rhineans, Palatians and others. Germany is, second to Russia, Europe’s most populous state but its residents are unevenly distributed.
The most densely populated areas are in the west and in the south: the Ruhr area, the Rhine-Main area around Frankfurt, the Rhine-Neckar area at Mannheim and Ludwigshafen, the region around Stuttgart and other metropolitan areas. In what was previously West Germany, the population density is about twice as high as in former East Germany (GDR). Since the German reunification in 1990, the states of the east, Berlin, have not included, lost about 2 million residents. Many, especially young people, have moved west, while childbearing has decreased.
- COUNTRYAAH.COM: Key populations estimated size and data of Germany, including population density of how many people per square mile. Also included are facts for population and language.
Birth rates are low in today’s Germany. The German Statistics Office estimates that the population will have decreased by between 11 million and 15 million in 2060 compared to today.
At the same time, the proportion of older people in the population is growing, while residents of working age are getting fewer. In recent years, the population has grown solely due to immigration. During the years following World War II, West Germany received many immigrants from former German territories in Eastern Europe and from the GDR. During the years of the Berlin Wall 1961-1991 (see Modern History), the refugee stream from the east almost ceased, to grow dramatically after the fall.
One fifth of the population (17 million residents) had immigrant backgrounds in 2015. Nearly one third of these originated from the extensive labor migration during the 1950s-1960s from Turkey, former Yugoslavia and southern Europe. Workers also immigrated to the GDR but mainly from socialist countries such as Cuba, Vietnam, Angola and several countries.
Later, EU member states and candidate countries have continued to account for a large proportion of immigration to Germany, in recent years especially Poland. In the early 1990s, there was a sharp increase in the number of asylum seekers. Many of them fled the war in former Yugoslavia. In 2015, a new peak was reached when close to 900,000 refugees came to Germany. More than a third of them fled Syria’s civil war, and a third came from the Western Balkan countries. The high level of refugee reception gave rise to extensive debate and growing xenophobia. A new movement, Pegida, organized protest demonstrations in Dresden in 2014-2015 against immigration and the alleged “Islamization” of the country.
The number of people applying for asylum decreased towards the end of the 2010s; in 2018, asylum applications totaled close to 186,000. According to the government, the reduction was mainly due to the shorter processing times of migrant cases, faster and more deportations of asylum seekers who have been refused in combination with, among other things, the EU refugee agreement with Turkey (see Current policy).
While immigrant ethnic Germans are automatically entitled to citizenship, other immigrants are faced with several requirements – including having lived in the country for at least eight years and speaking very good German – in order to become German citizens.
In addition to the large group of immigrants from different countries, there are four recognized national minorities: about 50,000 Danes in the northernmost parts of Schleswig-Holstein, about 60,000 Frisians along the North Sea coast and on the islands, 60,000 Sorbs, a West Slavic people, in the states of Saxony and Brandenburg as well as about 70,000 sinters (Roma).
FACTS – POPULATION AND LANGUAGE
Germans 91%, Turks about 4%, other immigrants about 4% 1
Number of residents
82 695 000 (2017)
Number of residents per square kilometer
Percentage of residents in the cities
77.3 percent (2017)
Nativity / birth
9.3 per 1000 residents (2016)
Mortality / mortality
11.2 per 1000 residents (2016)
0.4 percent (2017)
1.5 number of births per woman (2016)
Percentage of women
50.8 percent (2017)
81 years (2016)
Life expectancy for women
83 years (2016)
Life expectancy for men
78 years (2016)
German is officially language 2
- small groups of friars, Danes, sorbs and sinters (Roma)
2. Danish, Frisian, Sorbian and Romani are minority languagesSources
The Minister of Labor is leaving
The new Labor Minister Franz Josef Jung is forced to resign, after it has been revealed that he has led the public behind the lights during his earlier term as Minister of Defense. After a flight attack in Afghanistan in September 2009, Jung had denied the presence of civilian casualties in the bomb boards, but in fact, information had been available about civilian victims on the day the attack was carried out.
New leader for SPD
The Social Democrats congress elected former Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel as new SPD leader. He succeeds Franz Müntefering, who will be responsible for the election loss in September.
20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall
On November 9, the 20th anniversary is celebrated by the fall of the Berlin Wall in the presence of heads of state and government from across Europe as well as the US Secretary of State. The speakers include the Soviet Union’s last leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, and former trade union leader and President Lech Walesa of Poland.
CDU / CSU and FDP form government
CDU leader Angela Merkel becomes Chancellor, FDP leader Guido Westerwelle Foreign Minister and CDU veteran Wolfgang Schäuble Finance Minister.
Schleswig-Holstein state election
The result of the Bundestag election is reflected in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, where the CDU and FDP can form government after the SPD has backed and the FDP has progressed strongly.
The Christian Democrats largest party in the election
Christian Democratic CDU / CSU receives about 34 percent of the vote and 239 seats. Liberal FDP makes its best federal election in history and receives 93 seats. The Social Democratic SDP makes its worst choice during the post-war period with 23 percent of the vote and 146 seats. The left gets 76 seats and the green 68 seats.