Also See: Major Cities in Germany
The last census in Germany took place in 2011, showing a population of 80,219,695, which made it the 16th most populous country. Estimates of the current German population include those 81,471,834 from the CIA World Factbook and 81,799,600 from the European Union.
Germany Population 2013
Despite a drop in the country's growth rate, it's 2013 population is now estimated at 82,656,067, which makes Germany the 15th most populous country. It's also the largest country in the European Union. However, its birth rate is one of the lowest in the world and, if current trends continue, the population of Germany could well reduce to around 65-70 million over the next 50 years.
East versus West
When East Germany and West Germany were re-united in 1990, the population of East Germany was around 16.1 million people.
Although living standards have improved dramatically in the East over the past 20 years, it still lags behind in economic development and, as a result, many people head West in search of better job opportunties.
Pollution is also a massive legacy of the East German era, where industrial output was prioritized more highly than the environment, and many seek to move simply for a better quality of life.
The New York Times reports that around 1.7 million people have left East Germany since 1990 -- that's a decrease in population of just over 10%.
You can see the movement from East to West dramatically illustrated in this map.
Immigration into Germany
Of all the 27 European Union states, Germany has the highest percentage of immigrants in its population. Just under 10 million people living in Germany today were born outside of Germany -- that's about 12% of the German population. Most immigrants come from other European countries, particularly from Turkey, Russia, Poland and Italy and today only two countries in the world have more immigrants in total than Germany: Russia and the United States.
The German Government has been keen to encourage immigration over the past fifty years -- partly to address longer term demographic problems in Germany, such as its low birth rate, and partly to address shorter term labor shortages.
Religion in Germany
The majority of Germans are Christian, either Roman Catholic (30.0%) or Protestant (29.9%), although 1.6% of the population are also Orthodox Christians. Islam is the second largest religion in Germany – about 4-5% of Germans are adherents.
The largest single group, however, is non-believers, who make up 34.1% of the population. The number of atheists and agnostics is far higher in Eastern Germany than in Western Germany, largely because of the Communist East German state’s policy of discouraging relgious belief.
Largest Cities in Germany
Germany is divided into 16 states, referred to collectively as Länder, and each state has its own constitution and remains fairly autonomous. Each state also has its own capital. Despite its large population, Germany has relatively few large cities, and only four have a population over 1 million: Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Cologne.
Still, these cities are much larger when the metropolitan area is taken into account. Hamburg, for example, has a city population of 1.8 million as of 2012, but its metropolitan area is home to more than 5 million. Düsseldorf, the 7th largest city in Germany, has a population of close to 600,000, but its metropolitan area is home to over 11.3 million.
Here's a full list of the ten largest cities in Germany.
|5||Frankfurt am Main||671,927|
Germany is home to a large number of smaller cities and towns, however, and in total there are currently 82 cities with a population of more than 100,000 people.
Censuses have only been intermittently conducted in Germany, and the last one took place in 1987. Instead, the German Government relies on extrapolations from sample data collected from a small percentage (around 1%) of the population. Still, Germany did participate in the EU-wide census in 2011, which gave much-needed insight into the country's population.
Germany Population Growth
Germany is currenty fighting a major population drop, and many towns that were thriving just a few decades ago are now filled with vacant homes that may never be sold.
The country is now spending about $265 billion every year on family subsidies in an attempt to reverse this trend, with little success. Germany has many issues to overcome, including attitudes in the country where working women with children are dubbed "raven mothers" with an implication of neglectfulness and immigrants are not always welcomed with open arms.
Some experts worry that the country has waited too long to try to address its population problem, and raising fertility rates have proven difficult. Giving money to families and tax breaks for stay-at-home mothers and married couples has done little, and demographers believe expanding after-school and day care programs would be a better investment for the country.
The country will also need to start bringing in more immigrants to fill hundreds of thousands of vacant skilled jobs.
Germany is a representation of the declining fertility rates Europe has seen over the past few decades, and Germany found that it had lost 1.5 million people in its most recent census. This news was a bit of a surprise to the country, which had not conducted a single census since its reunification, even after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. It seems Germany missed this population loss because its people value privacy, and the last census in 1987 was very strongly opposed, and the one in 2011 was only done because it was required by the European Union.
Most of the 1.5 million who disappeared were migrants, who apparently did not deregister when they left the country, and thus lived on in records. Germany was found to have 1.1 million fewer foreigners than it thought, and 428,000 fewer Germans.
Given these troubling trends, it's estimated that the country will shrink another 19% by 2060 to just 66 million.