A surge of immigrants into Germany will only have a limited impact on rejuvenating its ageing workforce, the Federal Statistics Office said this week, stepping into a heated debate on new arrivals.
Some labour experts and German politicians hailed the arrival of 1.1mn migrants last year, saying that it would boost the economy.
However, the government is facing increasing criticism over the numbers, particularly since sexual attacks on women in Cologne and other cities on New Year’s Eve that authorities blamed on migrants.
“It was time to finally have our say in this debate after several media representatives accused us of not accurately reflecting the refugee influx in our calculations,” statistician Olga Poetzsch told Reuters over the phone.
The office said that it was treating last year’s record arrival of migrants, many of them refugees fleeing conflict and poverty in Syria and Afghanistan, as a one-off which might not be repeated.
As such, the high level of arrivals in Germany, Europe’s most populous country with about 81mn inhabitants, would only have “very limited impact” on the long term trend of ageing, the office said.
As in much of Europe, Germany’s population is ageing fast and the statistics office predicted the number of Germans aged over 67 will rise by 42% by 2040, while those aged between 20 and 66 will shrink by a quarter in the same period.
Under the Office’s “positive” scenario forecast, even if 8.5mn migrants were to enter Germany by 2040, the number of people in the age group 20 to 66 would still drop by 5mn.
Under another scenario that assumed only 4.3mn migrants arriving by 2040, the number of people in the 20-66 age bracket would drop by 9mn.
In order to reverse the trend and compensate for the imbalance in age groups, Germany would need to continuously attract 470,000 young people each year, the statisticians said.
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