TWIG - For three decades, the number of births in Germany has fallen short of the number of deaths. This trend continued in 2003, according to a report just released by the Federal Bureau of Statistics, which monitors population issues in Germany.
In comparison to the year before, the number of births dropped by 3960 to 715,290 in 2003, while the death rate rose by nearly 17,000 to 858,000 people.
The report also details the number of civil unions forged in 2003, also down from 2002. 383,076 people were married in Germany last year, continuing a trend which indicates a decreasing interest in marriage in the country.
Germany’s relatively stable birth rate is part of a wider trend called "Europe’s Second Demographic Transition." "The causes are found in a tendency toward individualization in society and the continuing decision to be able to design one’s own life," says Juergen Dorbritz from the Wiesbaden Federal Institute of Population Research. "Wanting a job, as well as career-oriented or consumption-oriented lifestyles are becoming evermore important, especially because these areas are so hard to combine."
Disparities between east and west
While some have credited the birth control pill for stunting Germany’s population growth, experts note that other factors contributed as well. "In both parts of Germany, there were greatly differing societal developments," says Dorbritz.
Through the mid-1960s, both East and West Germany registered remarkable population growth, with both countries producing as many as a million children a year. But by and large, the East German government created an atmosphere in which births flourished, resulting in more births than deaths in the communist country in the 1980’s. In West Germany, the birth rate began to stagnate in the 1970s and have continued to barely reach the death rate.
In former East Germany, the number of births dropped from 216,000 in 1988 to 79,000 in 1994.
In former West Germany as well, the trend of marrying later
in life and putting off having children to a later date has exacerbated the
disparity between birth and death figures. One-child families are the rule,
and more than ever, there is a tendency for women to decide against progeny
Federal Bureau of Statistics
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