Population projection Medium-term population projection

The medium-term population projection based on the corona year 2020 helps to understand whether, and how, pandemic-related changes might affect the pace of demographic change in Germany and its Länder in the next 15 years.
So far the coronavirus pandemic has primarily affected mortality and migration. Life expectancy has hardly increased recently. The increase in life expectancy has slowed for about ten years compared with previous decades. This trend was assumed to continue in the medium-term projection.

Travel restrictions have considerably reduced the migration flows to and from Germany during the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020 the number of arrivals exceeded the number of departures by roughly 220,000. Thus net migration declined for the fifth year in a row. One of the two assumptions concerning migration in the medium-term projection shows how the population would develop if net migration remained at the 2020 level. The other assumption illustrates the effects of a substantially higher annual net migration of 380,000 people as an average of the years 2021 to 2035.

Unlike mortality and migration, the number of births was only slightly affected by the pandemic in 2020. The first lockdown was ordered as of 22 March. The number of births could be affected by its consequences not earlier than in December 2020. In 2020, the average birth rate was 1.53 children per woman. It was assumed in the medium-term projection that this rate would remain unchanged for a short period, slightly increase afterwards and reach 1.56 children per woman in 2035.

The current medium-term projection indicates a smaller number of older people in the projection period. This is due to the changed initial situation and above all the assumption that the increase in life expectancy would be even lower than the one indicated in the "slight increase in life expectancy" assumption of the 14th coordinated population projection (L1) based on 2018. However, demographic ageing continues at a fast pace. The number of people aged 67 or over will rise by 22% from 16 million in 2020 to presumably 20 million in 2035. It will increase especially in the western Länder (+25%).

At the same time, the number of people of working age will drop markedly until 2035. The expected decline in the working-age population is due to the fact that the large baby-boom generation will retire from working age in the 2020s and much smaller younger cohorts will move up. The working-age population (between 20 and 66 years) in Germany can be expected to decline by 7% to 11% until 2035. Taking into account the gradually increasing retirement age, an average annual net immigration of 480,000 people of working age would be required to compensate for the decline in the working-age population until 2035. Of these people, 300,000 would have to be aged between 20 and 40 in order to stabilise the population figure of this age group.

More information and results are available in the volume of tables and report on "Ausblick auf die Bevölkerungs­entwicklung in Deutschland und den Bundes­ländern nach dem Corona-Jahr 2020 (German only)

Ergebnisse der ersten mittel­fristigen Bevölkerungs­vorausberechnung 2021 bis 2035" and in press release no. 459/21.