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How does change become apparent?

Demographic change does not happen overnight. It is a gradual process. That is why its phenomena are difficult to observe in everyday life. We can only really understand an abstract like 'change' by way of comparison.

Family Histories - what Stories can Images tell in Terms of Demographic Development?

Saxony in the 1920ies

Historical family portrait

Historical family portrait
(© Bildrechte)

Well organised life: In the 1920ies family life for children meant growing up with many siblings. In an extended family, boys and girls learned how to deal with people from an early age. Their parents were married, and often their grandparents also lived in the same house.

Family Today

Family portrait, mother with two children and grandparents

Family portrait, mother with two children and grandparents
(© PictureArt, fotolia)

'Patchwork' family: What was once a matter of course, has now become a rarity: the traditional family with father, mother and children. Often, parents live separately, or have new partners, who bring their own children into the relationship. If the grandparents live closeby, they help with childcare. These are the new networks, in which children are growing up today - and most of them have no siblings.

What development trends are on the cards for Saxony?

The most significant demographic development trends are:

  1. between 2000 and 2020: significant ageing of the entire population (a doubling of the numbers of 80+ years old, a 50% decrease in the age group of 15- to 25-year-olds)
  2. between 2020 and 2030: a renewed significant decline in the number of children under the age of 15, and a significant increase for the age group of the over 65s
  3. a continuous decrease in people of working age
  4. decrease in population density, particularly for the rural-peripheral regions
  5. a steady surplus of men, particularly in the age group between 18 and 35
  6. additional increase in life expectancy
  7. a regionally unbalanced ageing and population decrease
  8. increased concentration of people and infrastructure services in the more affluent centres of Saxony
  9. a longer active lifespan
  10. a 5-generation-lifecycle.

Is Saxony's demographic development unique?

No. The decrease in population affects all of Germany, and many other European countries. From the year 2070 onwards, a time period, for which demographics can easily provide forecasts, as those entering retirement age have already all been born, experts predict a global decrease in population.

The birth year of 1880 was the last one in Germany to completely reproduce its number. That means that for over 100 years, each birth year has produced less children than would be required to replace its own number. Currently, the birth rate in Germany is at an average of 1.4 births per woman. However, in order to reproduce the actual population size, the number should be 2.1 births per woman.

The population is getting older worldwide. "We live four years longer than our parents, and our children will live four years longer than we do" was the prognosis of demographers at the research institute for economic and demographic change for Germany in Mannheim. The combination of low birth rate and increased life expectancy leads to a continuously older society. This trend will not be reversible in the short- or mid-term in Germany, in almost all European states, in all 'old' industrial nations, or even in up and coming countries like China.



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