The highest birth defect rate in Germany since the end of World War II
Last year, the number of births was less than the number of deaths by 228,000. Germany has been experiencing a birth deficit for the 50th year in a row. Without immigration, which is very high in comparison internationally, the population would have been constantly declining for decades.
aAlthough births in Germany rose again at a low level since the low in 2011 and the number of children born in 2021 increased compared to 25 years ago, the so-called birth deficit reached a new high in 2021. Nearly compensated for 796,000 newborns with about 1,024,000 deaths last year – that leads to a birth deficit of 228,000. As the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB) announced Wednesday, this is the highest value since the end of World War II.
According to the institute, the birth balance in Germany has been negative for 50 years in a row – so the last time there was a surplus in 1971. Since then, the annual number of deaths has exceeded the number of births.
The main reasons for this decline are the ease of prevention of unwanted pregnancy through the spread of birth control pills and the change in values in the years around 1968. In 1975 the birth deficit was already below 207,000 before recovering again in 1988 to minus 8000. Then it tends to increase again.
According to the Federal Institute, the main cause of the record deficit in 2021 is the aging of the population. The rise in life expectancy and old age has led to a rise in the number of elderly people. This could not make up for the slight increase in the number of children. The impact of deaths from corona increased this trend, but according to the institute, it was not “significant”.
According to the institute, 6.1 million more people died in Germany than those born with a birth defect that existed 50 years ago. Since the 1980s, more Germans have emigrated than returned from abroad. Only between 2005 and 2020, the number of Germans who permanently left Germany exceeded the number of returnees by 728 thousand. According to the Federal Institute, the population increase of more than four million since 1972, despite the lack of births and the strong emigration of Germans, is due to the emigration of foreigners.
Every ninth pregnancy ends in a miscarriage
Without immigration, which is very high in comparison internationally, the population would have been constantly declining for decades. As the institute wrote last year in a federal government demographic report, “no other country in the world has experienced such low birth rates over a long period of time” — that is, since 1975, an average of fewer than 1.5 children per woman for nearly a decade. 40 years old.
Only in the past decade did the numbers start to rise again, mainly due to asylum seekers. According to the institute’s report to the government, “Since 2014, fertility has been increasingly affected by births in families who immigrated to Germany as refugees.” The strong influx of “females seeking protection in 2015 and 2016 from the Near and Middle East and Africa, i.e. regions with a high birth rate” “is largely responsible for the increase in the number of births in Germany”.
Women from Syria, Afghanistan, Kosovo and Iraq “from 2015 to 2016 had an average of 3.5 to 4.6 children per woman, which is a much higher birth rate than the average birth rate for all foreign women (2.1).” German citizens have an average of 1.4 children, while the rate of foreigners immigrating from the European Union is similarly low or even lower. At the level of the European Union, the birth rate is 1.53 children per woman.
Another reason for the low number of births in Germany is abortion. About every ninth pregnancy ends in miscarriage. According to Destatis, in 2020, there were about 773,000 births and about 100,000 abortions. But the situation changed some time ago: in 2000, there were 135,000 miscarriages for every 767,000 babies born. According to the Federal Statistical Office, abortions are rarely performed for medical reasons or due to sexual offenses. The institute’s researchers also anticipate permanent birth defects in the future, which is why “it is critical that the community’s potential be invested more deeply in education,” says Director Katharina Spies, “from the start.”
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