Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Comparative Demographics of France and Germany

France may be economically down at the moment compared with Germany, but Germany's demographic outlook is not good, as this article makes clear. If present trends continue, Germany's population will age rapidly, and its dependency ratio will increase sharply. Of course, immigration, boosted by the crisis, may ameliorate the picture somewhat. But the demographic outlook is one factor contributing to the high German savings rate, which in turn contributes to structural imbalances in the eurozone. It is important to keep this in mind.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I understand that no record is (officially) kept, in France of peoples origins. So no one knows how many true French, how many Danes, how many you-name-thems there are.
Now, there appears to be striking differences in the fecundity of the various nations making up modern France, and indeed Germany.
Is anyone able to shed light on this aspect of either nations growth prospects, and their eventual ethnic make-up?

Anonymous said...

"True French"? "True Danes"? A French person is a French citizen and his nationality is French, the odd concept of "ethnicity" is not used here. I remember almost falling off my chair in surprise when reading years ago in Times or Newsweek that there were many "ethnic Germans" in France, I suppose the author meant Alsatians and Lorrains, who are French, obviously.

I am afraid you really want to know the number of Arabs, Black Africans, etc... who are French, but not "true French". Anyway, rest assured, first generation of such migrants do have lots of kids, but the second and third generation tend to have no more children than other French people.

Mélanie

brent said...

I had a conversation recently with a young German couple, both with good jobs, who were (sadly) putting off having children, maybe forever, because German wage restraint had made children an unaffordable luxury in their eyes.Another hidden but severe cost of austerity policies ...

bernard said...

German low numbers of children per woman is nothing new and is likely unrelated to wage restraint. It was already the case in the early seventies in both West and East Germany and has been puzzling demographers for a long time, notwithstanding the well known lack of help for young mothers. One hypothesis is that Germans are not just afflicted with fear of inflation dating back to the Weimar Republic but also from lack of enthusiasm for producing a lot of children dating back to the pro-natalist policies of the Nazi era.

Boris said...

While I understand Mélanie's "politically correct" reaction, there has to be at some point a confrontation with reality.
That reality is that indeed whites ("Caucasians") are one day going to be a minority in France (as they are in some parts of the US already : Los Angeles, California even ?).
It may not be a problem per se, but it certainly is going to induce a lot of changes.
Many tourists are already quite surprised when they go to certain areas of Paris.
Sometimes it feel a little bit strange to be the only white in a RER car (frequent past 11pm), or even in a whole station, as it happened to me several times at Evry.

Anonymous said...

A pet theory of mine regarding the matter of future demography was that, after the tremendous changes brought by the industrial revolution, country would return to their "natural" population which is determined by geography, and corrected by technological progress. France is much bigger than Germany with roughly the same climate so in the long run it should have a larger population, as to why Germany's population is shrinking, just remember that german people used to inhabit a country twice as big as today, they have to adapt...

Not very scientific but it's a nice view what is happening I think

Anonymous said...

Thank you Art for highligting this point. Between France and Germany demographic forces have been at work in very different direction for many years. Germany economic situation is just an accident waiting to happen. Once China growth slows down, Germany will be left with huge imbalance.