BERLIN—Germany’s birth rate continues to plunge and last year hit the lowest level since 1945, the year of Nazi Germany’s defeat when the country was in ruins, a report said Tuesday.
Based on official data for the first three quarters of 2005, the report in the newspaper Die Welt says there were about 676,000 babies born in Germany last year.
This is a decline of 4.2 per cent over the previous year in which 706,000 children were born in Germany.
Even in 1946, the year after World War II ended, far more children were born in Germany: 922,000. The highest birth rate was in 1964 when in both East and West Germany a total of 1.357 million babies were born.
The report says that Germany already had the lowest birth rate of all European countries in 2004 when there were 8.5 live births per 1,000 people.
In comparison, there were 9.3 live births per thousand people in Poland, 9.6 in the Czech Republic, 11.2 in Sweden and 12.7 in France.
Turkey tops the birth rate in Europe with 19.1 births per 1,000 people.
A report on “The Demographic State of the Nation” is scheduled to be published on Wednesday in Berlin.
Even with continued immigration, the German population is set to start declining in the coming decade and, in a worst case scenario, would fall from the present 82 million to 67 million by 2050, according to the Federal Statistics Office.
A middle range scenario says there will be 75 million people in Germany in 2050—the same population as in 1963.
Germany’s declining and ageing population is expected to impact on the economy and the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) predicts German economic growth will be at best 0.5 per cent per year from 2025 if current trends continue.