Germany Faces Economic Downturn with Plummeting Birth Rate and Aging Population
Germany, the juggernaut of the European economic scene, could be facing a critical downturn over the next five decades because of its dramatically shrinking birth rate and dropping population, a new government report has said. The falling and aging population will result in the eventual disintegration of Germany's generous social welfare programmes, including old-age pensions, the report warns.
The Federal Statistics Office projected a drop in population from 82 million in 2008, the largest in the European Union, to between 65 million and 70 million. By 2060, 34 percent of the population will be older than 65 and 14 percent will be 80 or more, up from 20 percent and 5 percent respectively last year.
"While the number of older people increases, fewer and fewer people will be of an age at which they can work," Roderich Egeler, the head of the statistics office said in the report. "This will have consequences for the social security system".
Germany's 82 million citizens make it the most populated country in the EU, accounting for 16.4 per cent of the total European population.
This is followed by France with 64 million, the United Kingdom with 61 million, and Italy with 60 million.
None of these countries have a birth rate that allows for the population to remain steady and all rely upon immigration to maintain population and the work force.
Germany Latvia, Slovenia and Italy are among the EU countries with the lowest percentage of young people.
In these countries, only 1 out every 8 inhabitants is under 14.
This is contrasted with countries in Africa who have some of the youngest average populations in the world.
In Burundi, the median age for men is 16.5 years and for women it is 17 years with the birth rate at 41.42 births/1,000 population. 6.33 children are born per woman. Life expectancy is low, however, at an average 51.2 years for men and 53.01 years for women.
In Germany, the median age for men is 42.6 years, for women, 45.2 years with 8.18 births/1,000 population and an overall fertility rate of 1.41 children born per woman. Pensions must stretch over an average life expectancy of 76.26 years for men, and 82.42 years for women.
The government's report follows a report from another think tank last week that said Germany has one of the most elderly populations of the 27 states of Europe and is facing an eventual demographic "catastrophe" and bankruptcy of its welfare programmes.
The Federal Statistics Office report said that the number of pensioners who will have to be supported by working-age people could almost double by 2060.
[20November 09, Hilary White, Rome, www.LifeSiteNews.com]
Massive School Closures in Ontario Imminent Due to Low Birth Rate
A report from the education advocacy organization People for Education reveals that up to 335 Ontario schools face closure in the next three years because of declining enrollment, which stems from the province's low birth rate.
According to the organization, 172 elementary and secondary schools will close or are recommended to close by 2012, up from 145, which they reported in May. Another 163 schools are currently under review.
"This represents the largest increase in school closings since the late 1990's," the report says, "when, between 1999 and 2004, school boards reacted to education funding cuts by closing over 250 schools across the province."
They attribute the closures to the massive decline in school enrolment and an outdated government-funding model that has not been adapted to compensate for the lower number of students.
"Since 1997, the average enrolment in Ontario's elementary schools has declined by 15%," the report states. "In secondary schools, since 2002, the average enrolment has declined by 14%."
"Declining enrolment is a phenomena across the country, the result of a decline in the birth rate," they explain. "Even Canada's substantial immigration rate does not offset the general aging of our population; proportionally, we have more seniors and fewer young people."
In fact, Statistics Canada has predicted that student enrolment in elementary and secondary schools will drop by 500,000 in the next 10 years.
"Statistics Canada does not predict any school-age population boom in the foreseeable future," they continue. "Enrolment decline is, for the most part, a result of declining fertility rates."
Statistics Canada reported that the country's fertility rate was 1.66 children per woman in 2007. While this is the highest rate reported since 1992, and up from 1.59 in 2006, it still remains well below the replacement level of 2.1.
The popular wisdom is that immigration offsets a low birth rate, but according to a July study released by the C.D. Howe Institute, immigration would ultimately have to reach ridiculous levels in order to compensate for the low birth rate.
"This shouldn't be a great surprise," commented Mary Ellen Douglas of Campaign Life Coalition, "when three and a half million children have been eliminated" through abortion.
"That sort of points to where the declining birth rate is," she continued. "That and the contraceptive mentality that we live with in Canada. So, it shouldn't be a great surprise."
[10Nov09, Patrick B. Craine, Ontario, www.LifeSiteNews.com]
Demographic Report Reveals "Unprecedented Global Aging" – Childlessness in US Women at 20%
A report by the US National Institute on Aging (NIA) says that the average age of the world's population is increasing at an unprecedented rate and that "within 10 years, for the first time in human history there will be more people aged 65 and older than children under 5 in the world."
The report entitled "An Aging World: 2008," examines the demographic and socioeconomic implications of this trend and contains detailed information on life expectancy, health, disability, gender balance, marital status, living arrangements, education and literacy, labor force participation and retirement, and pensions among older people around the world.
Childlessness among European and U.S. women aged 65 in 2005 ranged from less than 8 percent in the Czech Republic to 15 percent in Austria and Italy, the study noted. Twenty percent of women aged 40-44 in the United States in 2006 had no biological children. The study suggested that these data raise questions about the provision of care when that group of women reaches adva
"The world's population of people over age 65 is growing rapidly, and with it will come a number of challenges and opportunities," said NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D.
The number of people worldwide age 65 and older was estimated at 506 million as of midyear 2008; by 2040, that number will be 1.3 billion. Thus, in just over 30 years, the proportion of older people will double from 7 percent to 14 percent of the total world population, according to the report.
"Aging is affecting every country in every part of the world," said Richard Suzman, Ph.D., director of NIA's Division of Behavioral and Social Research. "While there are important differences between developed and developing countries, global aging is changing the social and economic nature of the planet and presenting difficult challenges. The fact that, within 10 years, for the first time in human history there will be more people aged 65 and older than children under 5 in the world underlines the extent of this change."
An important aspect of the report deals with aging population in developing countries, but the research does not identify the causes of the burgeoning imbalance of old to young, such as China's coercive one child policy, or the world-wide population manipulation policies of the UN.
A UN report on aging a decade ago warned of economic consequences from the aging problem, predicting dire implications in terms of social support for elderly people. "The potential support ratio, which indicates the dependency burden on potential workers, is falling," said the report.
"Between 1999 and 2050, the potential support ratio will decline from 5 to 2 working age persons per older person in more developed regions and by an even larger fraction in less developed regions, from 12 to 4, thus affecting social security schemes, particularly traditional pay-as-you-go systems where current workers pay for the benefits of current retirees."
The full text of the report "An Aging World: 2008" is available at www.census.gov/prod/2009pubs/p95-09-1.pdf
See the UN report from 1999 here:
[22 July 2009, Bethesda, MD, T. M. Baklinski and John-Henry Westen, www.LifeSiteNews.com]