You are on page 1of 8

The German Pro-Natalist policy - summary

Why did Germany introduce the Policy?

Started because of falling birthrate

1.37 babies per women, well below replacement rate
Changing demographic structure is worrying.
the dependency ratio differed too much, too much old people and not enough young people to
support them
How would the Policy work?
started back in 2007
parents receive 67% of their net income per month
up to 1800 euros ($2221)
received for staying at home and looking after child
only for first year of child's life
encourages people to have more kids, supposedly
changes the belief that woman stays home and man hunts
What were the successes of the Policy?

birthrate increased from 8.17 in 2006 to 8.33 in 2007

problem was after 2007, birthrate went down again
as of 2009 it is 7.88, even lower than before
What were the Failures of the Policy?
Didn't take into account recent economic slump
Peoples minds cannot be changed easily
Men still wanted to be "men"
Women did not want to give up high-paying jobs for childcare
Employers generally unsympathetic to mothers
Poor child caring facilities (nurseries)
German society looks down upon women who combine work with childcare (these women were
referred as "raven mother")
Due to belief where women are eithers mothers of workers, but not both

How effective was this Policy?

Not very effective initially
Only showed minor birthrate growth back in 2007 and failed after

How could the Policy have been improved to make it more effective?

Take into account German society more

Use advertisements (propaganda) to convince people nothing is wrong with "raven mothers"
New laws making it possible for workers to have more family time.
More financial incentives

Raise the retirement age to increase the workforce
Reintroduce the elderly into the workforce (probably won't go down well with people though)
Encourage immigration

Sunday, May. 23, 2010

Baby Gap: Germany's Birth Rate Hits Historic

By Tristana Moore / Berlin

Germany is shrinking fast. New figures released on May 17 show the birth rate in Europe's
biggest economy has plummeted to a historic low, dropping to a level not seen since 1946.
As demographers warn of the consequences of not making enough babies to replace and
support an aging population, the latest figures have triggered a bout of national soulsearching and cast a harsh light on Chancellor Angela Merkel's family policies.
According to a preliminary analysis by the Federal Statistics Office, 651,000 children were
born in Germany in 2009 30,000 fewer than in 2008, a dip of 3.6%. In 1990, German
mothers were having on average 1.5 children each; today that average is down to 1.38
children per mother. With a shortfall of 190,000 between the number of people who died
and the number of children who were born, Germany's birth rate is well below the level
required to keep the population stable. (See why the recession is causing women to have
fewer kids.)
"The German birth rate has remained remarkably flat over the past few years while it has
increased in other low-fertility countries, like Italy and the Czech Republic," Joshua
Goldstein, executive director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, tells
TIME. "Women are continuing to postpone motherhood to an older age and this process of
postponement is temporarily lowering the birth rate." According to Goldstein's research,
Germany has the longest history of low fertility in Europe.
To explain Germany's low reproduction rate, Steffen Krhnert, a social scientist at the
Berlin Institute for Population Development, points to a number of factors. Many German
women decide not to have children because of poor state-run child-care facilities. Most
schools in Germany finish earlier than in other parts of Europe some as early as 1 p.m.
leaving parents struggling to find and afford sufficient day care. And often women who take
up part-time jobs to try to juggle work and family life end up paying a high financial price.
"Many German women have to stop work and end their careers if they want to have kids,"
says Krhnert. It doesn't help that German mothers are still often branded Rabenmtter

"raven mothers" a pejorative label that accuses them of being bad mothers if they decide
to put their children in nurseries and continue working.
As Germany feels the demographic crunch, the country's plummeting birth rate has become
a contentious political issue. Over the past few years, Chancellor Merkel has introduced a
number of family-boosting incentives, including a new parental allowance for couples that
pays a parent who chooses to stay home 67% of his or her income for the first year after
their child is born (with a cap of $2,300 per month). The measure is aimed at encouraging
fathers to take a more active role in raising their children and, in that respect, it appears to
have paid off. One-in-five fathers now stays home to look after the kids. (Read how
Germany is trying to save the euro all by itself.)
Merkel's new center-right government has also pledged to expand the number of nursery
school places, setting itself the ambitious goal of providing 1-in-three 3 under age 3 with
state-funded child care by 2013. But it remains to be seen whether that new initiative will
motivate Germans to make more babies. "There are many reasons why couples don't have
children," said Family Minister Kristina Schrder in a statement. "The economic crisis and
job fears play a role. We have to help people combine work and family, especially in these
difficult economic times."
And that help has to come soon: the predictions of Germany's demographic future make for
uncomfortable reading. The Federal Statistics Office says Germany's population of 82
million could drop by up to 17 million over the next 50 years. Demographers fear a
shrinking workforce will stymie growth and struggle to foot the bill for a rapidly aging
population. "Germany's working-age population is likely to decrease 30% over the next few
decades," says Krhnert of the Berlin Institute for Population Development. "Rural areas
will see a massive population decline and some villages will simply disappear Germany
will become a weak economic power in the future."
Krhnert says that while society has become more modern and more women are choosing
both career and kids, German politicians have reacted too slowly to the country's falling
birth rate. With the recent multibillion dollar bailout for Greece and the euro-zone rescue
package straining Germany's already stretched public finances, Merkel is coming under
increasing pressure from within her own conservative party to make cuts. The powerful
governor of the state of Hesse, Roland Koch, recently suggested the government could save
on education and child care, although Merkel quickly distanced herself from his remarks,

insisting that those areas would be spared the axe. But the Chancellor was elected last
September on her promise to reduce taxes, a pledge she has been forced to put on ice for the
next few years. As Germany battles to bring its spiraling budget deficit under control, it may
have trouble convincing its citizens to add to the family for the good of the country.
Germany dominance over as demographic crunch worsens
Germany's workforce will shrink by 6m over the next 15 years, declining
even faster than Japan's
Life expectancy for women is expected to continue rising to 88 and for men to 84
by the middle of the century, creating a massive social burden Photo: AP

7:58PM BST 01 Jun 2015

Germanys birth rate has collapsed to the lowest level in the world and its workforce will start
plunging at a faster rate than Japan's by the early 2020s, seriously threatening the long-term
viability of Europes leading economy.
A study by the World Economy Institute in Hamburg (HWWI) found that the average number of
births per 1,000 population dropped to 8.2 over the five years from 2008 to 2013, further
compounding a demographic crisis already in the pipeline. Even Japan did slightly better at 8.4.
No other industrial country is deteriorating at this speed despite the strong influx of young
migrant workers. Germany cannot continue to be a dynamic business hub in the long-run without
a strong jobs market, warned the institute.
The crunch is aggravated by the double effect of a powerful post-war baby boom followed by a
countervailing baby bust the so-called Pillenknick. The picture in Portugal (nine) and Italy
(9.2) is almost as bad.
The German government expects the population to shrink from 81m to 67m by 2060 as
depressed pockets of the former East Germany go into decline spirals where shops, doctors
practices, and public transport start to shut down, causing yet more people to leave in a vicious

A number of small towns in Saxony, Brandenburg and Pomerania have begun to contemplate
plans for gradual "run-off" and ultimate closure, a once unthinkable prospect.
Chancellor Angela Merkel warned in a speech in Davos earlier this year that Germany will lose a
net 6m workers over the next 15 years, shrinking gradually over the rest of this decade before
going into free-fall.
The International Monetary Fund expects the decline in the 2020s to be more concentrated and
harder to handle than the gentler paces of decline seen in Japan so far.
Britain and France are in far better shape, with an average of 12.5 births per 1,000 in from 20082013. The IMF expects both countries to overtake Germany in total GDP by the middle of
century and possibly even by 2040, implying a radical shift in the European balance of power.

Light line is birth rate in Germany. Dark line is death rate

Germanys leaders are themselves acutely conscious that their current hegemonic position in
Europe is largely a mirage, certain to fade as more powerful historical currents come to the fore.

The HWWI said the numbers in the crucial 20-65 age group will drop from 61pc to 54pc by
2030, pushing the dependency ratio towards 1:1 and calling into question the solvency of the
public pension system. Life expectancy for women is expected to continue rising to 88 and for
men to 84 by the middle of the century, creating a massive social burden.
We want people to face up to the enormity of the problem, said Dr Andres Wolf, one of the
authors of the report.
It is a fiscal danger and it is a long-term danger to the ability of German companies to innovate
and develop new products, he added.
While ageing societies can enjoy a rise in per capita income for a while, they tend to do so by
living off past creativity and intellectual capital. This reserve is exhausted over time. It becomes
progressively harder for older countries to remain at the technology frontier.

The HWWI said Germany must open it doors to further immigration of trained workers but fears
that it will be a hard sell to voters in the current stormy atmosphere.
The anti-euro Alternative fur Deutschland party (AFD) has broken into several regional
parliaments with a hard-line stance against immigrants. There are already almost 10m foreignborn nationals in the country - 12pc of the total with a further 400,000 migrants are expected
this year.

Germany cannot easily turn around the demographic tanker. Academic studies show that fertility
rates tend to be structural caused by deeply-rooted cultural patterns and social systems and
change very slowly in peacetime.
The demographic crisis explains why Germany is so determined to run a budget surplus and
drive down its public debt ratios, hoping to avoid a Japanese-style debt-trap before it is too late.
Whether this is best achieved by austerity is a contentious issue. Budget cuts have led to a
negative rate of public investment over the past decade, even though parts of the German canal
system, railways and national infrastructure are slowly falling apart.
The IMF says Germany would do itself and the rest of the eurozone a favour by spending more
to prepare for its old age, not less.

Germany sees 'turning point' in birth rate

AFP 24 Sep 2016, 08:01
Germany has halted a three-decade-long decline in its birth rate, with data showing that the trend has
started to reverse, statisticians said Friday.

Half of Germans fear dementia in old age (26 Nov 15)

Germany sees biggest baby batch in a decade (21 Aug 15)

Over the last 35 years Europe's biggest economy had recorded a steady fall in birth rate, which reached a low
of 1.49 child for each woman born in the year 1968, said the Federal Institute for Population Research.
But women born in the subsequent years are having more children, bringing the birth rate to 1.56 for mothers
born in 1973.
"The decline in birth rate has stopped," said Martin Bujard, a researcher at the institute. "On the basis of these
numbers, one can even speak of a turning point," he said, noting that improved childcare options likely
contributed to the upswing.
Despite the turnaround, Germany's birth rate remains below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman.
The country's low birth rate has contributed to shaping much of the European economic giant's policies,
including questions surrounding state indebtedness and pensions.
The government has always preached austerity as politicians argue that it would be irresponsible to leave
shrinking future generations to shoulder ever-rising burdens of debt.

In recent years, Germany has also rolled out new policies to reverse the low birth trend, including expanding
nursery spots and creating incentives for fathers to take parental leave.
Germany's population is set to decline by about 10 million people by 2060, according to projections published
last April. Federal statistics office Destatis said Germany was expected to have between 68 and 73 million
inhabitants by 2060, compared to its current 81 million.
Other websites:

Create a factfile of the German pro-natalist policy covering the following points:

WHY and WHEN it was introduced

WHAT was involved in the policy

HOW successful was it originally

WHICH options does the German government have to solve its problems

WHY it failed at first but WHAT has changed in 2016.


1. Analyse a pro-natalist policy you have studied

5 marks

2. Contrast the effectiveness of anti-natalist and pro-natalist population policies

6 marks