What is meant by demographic change?

Demographic change refers to the development of the population structure and its composition based on various characteristics. This includes the characteristics of the age distribution of people, as well as the death rate and birth rate, but also the migration structure.

The Federal Statistical Office Destatis has published the 14th coordinated population calculation in 2018. The data from the statistics is intended to calculate possible population developments up to the year 2060. It also assumes the development from 2018, which also leads to significant differences from previous calculations.

A number of important components can be summarized from this. The process of aging in Germany can no longer be prevented, but it can be minimized. The calculations showed that a rising birth rate, as well as a growing immigration rate and the resulting increase in the population, could mitigate this trend, but is not holistically able to stop it. Importantly for the German economy, the number of people in work was still 52 million in 2018 and it is expected to fall to between 46 and 47 million by 2035. This results in a difference of 4 to 6 million employable people. Depending on immigration patterns, this figure may stabilize or fall to as low as 40 million by 2060.

The effects of demographic change

In the coming years, the number of people in the labor market will steadily decline.  According to the Bertelsmann Stiftung alone, there will be a shortage of 500,000 full-time employees by 2030 in the health and care sector alone. That’s just one of many labor sectors. In fact, we are already seeing a severe shortage of skilled workers today. To counteract this trend, we need to establish an inclusive approach and a welcoming culture in Germany that promotes the social integration of immigrants. The idea of stopping demographic change through immigration alone remains illusory and is short-sighted. Holistic and sustainable integration concepts are needed to retain immigrant professionals in the long term.

What can we do?

We live in a rapidly changing world. Everywhere, vacancies and jobs in any industry are not filled, and frequent job changes have a negative impact on the German labor market and the economy. Especially the medical, as well as technical industries, complain again and again of a lack of skilled workers, but also areas such as logistics, IT, hospitality, or in the retail trade, the shortage of skilled workers is noticeable. One way to counteract demographic change is to recruit international specialists. In this way, the serious shortage of skilled workers in Germany can be counteracted as quickly as possible. In the case of employed immigrants, simplified recognition of degrees or provision of continuing education must be ensured, although a basic qualification remains the basic prerequisite for entering the workforce.  In addition, general immigration and the female employment rate must be promoted. In this context, it is particularly important to provide women with children who are capable of working with new working conditions, so that they are able to pursue their work despite having children. However, it is also important to make unattractive jobs more attractive and to make educational opportunities equal for all. In the case of unattractive jobs, poor working conditions and low pay often play a serious role, which is why people change industries, resulting in shortages and fluctuation.

We as a society must be ready for change, not only in our professional lives but also socially. Immigration also means an even greater diversity of people living, working, and meeting each other. Difficulties and hurdles can also arise in the process. Not only do bureaucratic hurdles have to be reduced, but also stigmatization, discrimination, and racism have to be tackled by society as a whole because this is the only way to ensure a functioning working world and social life in the future.


  1. https://www.vielfalt-mediathek.de/intersektionalitaet, 19.09.2022
  2. https://www.destatis.de/DE/Themen/Querschnitt/Demografischer-Wandel/_inhalt.html, 19.09.2022
  3. https://www.bpb.de/themen/soziale-lage/demografischer-wandel/, 20.09.2022
  4. https://www.berlin-institut.org/themen/national/demografischer-wandel,20.09.2022
  5. https://www.bertelsmann-stiftung.de/de/unsere-projekte/demografieresilienz-und-teilhabe/projektnachrichten/arbeitskraefte-und-arbeitsmarkt-im-demographischen-wandel,21.09.2022