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.

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