Germany is one of the largest European countries. At the same time, the country faces various demographic problems that are typical for other Western European countries. In general, it should be said that the major demographic trends typical for Germany may be traced in other European countries, though such trends are not characteristic of absolutely all well-developed countries such as the US. In such a way, it is possible to estimate that the current demographic situation in Germany is worth analyzing since it can reveal the major trends that are typical for European countries and possible problems Germany may face in the future.
2. The Major Densely Populated Areas of Germany and the US
First of all, it should be said that Germany is one of the most densely populated country in Europe. Its population constitutes 82,4 million people, while the main part of the population are concentrated in large metropolitan areas, among which it is possible to single out Munich metropolitan region with the population 4,7 million, Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan area with the population 4.2 million, Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region with the population 10,2 million, Frankfurt Rein-Main metropolitan region with the population 5,8 million, and others.
In such a way, the large metropolitan regions are densely populated and the main part of the population of the country is concentrated in this areas. Basically, such a situation is determined by the historical development of the country since Germany was traditionally the regional leader and one of the leading country in the world. In the process of its historical development, the country has passed through the stage of industrialization and, at the present epoch, Germany is entering the post-industrial stage. Thus, the country is highly developed and, therefore, the population is concentrated in areas where people have larger economic opportunities, i.e. in large metropolitan areas where industrial, scientific and educational centers are concentrated.
However, this trend is typical not only for Germany but for other developed countries such as the US, for instance. In this respect, it should be said that the population of the US, constituting more than 303 million people, mainly resides in urban areas (U.S. Census Bureau, 2008). To put it more precisely, slightly more than 80% of its population resides in cities and suburban areas (U.S. Census Bureau, 2008, see Table 3). This trend proves the fact that the concentration of population in urban or metropolitan areas is typical for well-developed countries. It should be pointed out that reasons for the migration of population from rural to urban areas in the US was and still is determined by similar factors that the migration in Germany. In fact, at the present moment both the US and Germany are highly developed countries where the main economic opportunities are available in large cities, while rural areas are merely populated, while the introduction of new technologies in both countries contributes to the effective agriculture and stable supply of the local population with essential products with minimal use of human resources and manual labor.
3. Fertility Rates and Population Growth
At the same time, the demographic situation in Germany and the US are, to a significant extent, different. In this respect, it is necessary to underline that Germany is currently defined as the country whose population is steadily aging. What is meant here is the fact that Germany has a zero fertile rate or, what is more, Germany’s population is characterized by declining growth. In actuality, this means that the population is aging, the number of older people increases, while the number of newborns steadily declines. In such a way, the country faces not only demographic problems, because the reproductive potential of the nation declines, but it also provokes a number of economic problems since the number of active population contributing to the economic growth gradually decreases, while the number of retired people grows.
In contrast, the situation in the US is quite the contrary. In fact, the fertility rate for the US constitutes 2.09, which is the largest rate among well-developed countries (U.S. Census Bureau, 2008). At the same time, it is worth mentioning the fact that the population of the US does not demonstrate the trend to aging not only because of the relatively high fertility rate, but also due to the immigration, especially from Latin America.
4. Ethnic and Racial Structure of Population in Germany and the US
Furthermore, in spite of the growth of non-German population in Germany in recent years, the country still remains predominantly mono-national. To put it more precisely, Germans constitute the overwhelming majority of the population – 91,5%, while less than 10% of German population is represented by ethnic minorities, among which 2,4% constitutes Turks, while the rest 6,1% are represented by Italians, Serbs, Croats, Poles, Bosnians, Greeks, Vietnamese and Russian (Population Handbook, 2008, see Table 1). In contrast, the US is a multinational country. Basically, it is possible to distinguish major racial groups: white alone 73,9%; African American 12,4%; Asian American 4,4%; American Indian 0,8%; Native Hawaiian 0,14%; other race 6,3%; two or more races 2% (U.S. Census Bureau, 2008, see Table 1).
Thus, it is possible to conclude that Germany is a densely populated country with a low fertility rate and concentration of population in urban areas, while the US’s population tends to grow. Moreover, Germany’s population is predominantly German with ethnic minorities constituting less than a tenth of population, while the population of the US is ethnically diverse.
“Population Handbook.” 5th edition. Population Reference Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008 from <http://www.prb.org/pdf/PopHandbook_Eng.pdf>
United Nations Population Fund: State of World Population 2006. Retrieved January 31, 2008 from <http://www.unfpa.org/publications/detail.cfm?ID=294&filterListType=>
U.S. Census Bureau; B02001. RACE – Universe: TOTAL POPULATION; Data Set: 2006 American Community Survey; Survey: 2006 American Community Survey. Retrieved January 31, 2008 from <http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DTTable?_bm=y&-context=dt&-ds_name=ACS_2006_EST_G00_&-mt_name=ACS_2006_EST_G2000_B02001&-CONTEXT=dt&-tree_id=306&-redoLog=false&-all_geo_types=N&-geo_id=01000US&-currentselections=ACS_2006_EST_G2000_B02001&-search_results=01000US&-format=&-_lang=en>.
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