Elderly Germans Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Germany’s Coming Silver Age

Record levels of migration to Germany over the last two years have called into question population projections. But because German society will still continue to age in the coming decades, policymakers must resist the temptation to postpone or water down politically painful retirement and pension-policy decisions.

MUNICH – Record levels of migration to Germany over the last two years have called into question the country’s demographic projections. But Germany’s rapid shift to a more favorable profile is not a reason to postpone politically painful policy decisions about retirement and pensions.

At the beginning of this century, forecasts that were considered reliable predicted that Germany would lose more than ten million inhabitants by 2050, owing to declining immigration and a low average birth rate. Today, population projections are significantly brighter. According to the government’s latest calculations, Germany’s population could remain above 80 million until 2060, and the reduction in the labor supply might not be as drastic as was previously feared.

Demographic forecasts needed to be corrected significantly, because the number of immigrants to Germany has fluctuated wildly and unpredictably, as opposed to emigration from Germany, which has remained relatively stable.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles from our archive every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.


By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in


Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.