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At the end of 2004, Germany's population was 82.5 million, essentially unchanged from the prior year. However, the World Bank projects that Germany's population will decline to about 80.3 million by 2015.
Average population density is about 230 people per square kilometer, but population distribution is very uneven. In the former West Germany, population density is 267 people per square kilometer, compared with 140 people per square kilometer in the former East Germany. Berlin and the industrialized Ruhr Valley are densely populated, while much of the Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania regions in the East are thinly populated. These disparities have been exacerbated by migration from East to West, as former Easterners have sought better employment opportunities.
About 61 percent of the population lives in towns with 2,000 to 100,000 inhabitants; 30 percent, in cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants; and the remainder, in villages with fewer than 2,000 inhabitants.
Germany's population includes 7.3 million foreigners, including 2 million Turks and many refugees from the developing world. Many Turks came to Germany as guest workers during the economic boom from the mid-1950s to the end of 1973. Since 1970, about 3.2 million foreigners have become German citizens. With the introduction of a new citizenship law in 2000, many children of foreign parents became eligible for German citizenship for the first time. Between 1988 and 1993, more than 1.4 million refugees, many from the former Soviet Union, sought asylum in Germany, but only 57,000 were granted their wish. Although the right to asylum remains intact for legitimate victims of political persecution, restrictions on the countries of origin and entry introduced in 1993 have steadily reduced the number of those seeking asylum to a 20-year low of 50,500 in 2003.
A new immigration law that took effect on January 1, 2005, promotes a more open immigration policy, particularly for highly skilled workers. The law also extends the right to asylum to the victims of genital mutilation and sexual abuse and political persecution by non-European Union groups. In 2005 Germany's net migration rate was estimated to be 2.18 migrants per 1,000 people, placing Germany forty-second in the world in inbound migration, the same level experienced by the United Kingdom.
(Updated December 2005)
Cities with Population over 250,000,
January 1, 1993
|Frankfurt am Main
- Immigration in Germany
- Women In German Society
- Marriage in Germany
- German Social Structure
- Religion in Germany
- German Geography (lands and
- German Society (population, religion,
marriage, urbanization, social structure, immigration)
- Education in Germany (elementary,
junior, senior, vocational, higher)
- German Economy (the Economic
Miracle, financial system, Bundesbank, business culture)
- German Politics (government,
the Chancellor, the President, parties, Bundestag)
- Mass Media (newspapers,
radio and TV)
- German Armed Forces (army,
navy, air forces, police)