Germany becomes land with the lowest birthrate in the world

Although Germany remains the biggest country in the European Union with a population of more than 82 million people, it lacks something that other great powers have: a high or even average birthrate to ensure the nation's stability.

Germany recorded the lowest birthrate in the world from 2008 to 2013, and this will likely have a negative impact on the country's economy, a study released last week showed.

A street scene in Freiburg, Germany, showing plenty of adults but too few children, if there are any here in this particular frame.YouTube

An earlier report in The Guardian said Germany's population will likely be reduced by 12 million by 2060. In contrast, the report said the French population will rise to almost 72 million by that year.

But the European population projection report said the biggest European country after 45 years will be Britain whose population is expected to increase by an estimated 25 percent, from over 61 million to almost 77 million.

Britain will overtake Germany and France to become the biggest country in the EU in 50 years' time, according to population projections unveiled yesterday. A survey of demographic trends finds Britain's positive birth rate contrasting strongly with most other large countries in Europe.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government has not been remiss in encouraging Germans to make more babies and setting aside funds for that purpose. But the government appears unable to reverse the trend.

Analysts said the problem could be due to a variety of factors including insufficient infrastructure, such as not enough daycare centers, and workplace conditions not conducive for working mothers.

A study released on Friday by the Hamburg Institute for International Economics in coordination with German auditing firm BDO showed that an average of 8.2 children were born per 1,000 citizens over the past five years in the European nation.

With this low figure, Germany has passed Japan as the country with the lowest birthrate. The East Asian country, long known for its ageing population, recorded 8.4 live births per 1,000 citizens from 2008 to 2013.

In Europe, Portugal and Italy follow Germany in terms of low birthrates. These countries have an average of 9.0 and 9.3 children, respectively, during the period of the study.

The study also showed a drastic decline in birthrate in Germany, with figures shrinking over the past 50 years.

Germany's birthrate is seen to adversely affect the country's economy at a time when the European market has yet to stabilize.

"This results in significantly negative consequences for Germany's economic attractiveness and performance in the global competitive landscape," Henning Voepel, head of the Hamburg Institute for International Economics, said in a statement.

With fewer children being born, Germany will likely experience a shrinking working-age population in the future, which will trigger an increased urgency to attract skilled workers from abroad, according to German auditing firm BDO.

The percentage of people in Germany of working age, which is between 20 and 65, is projected by the study to drop from 61 percent to 54 percent by 2030.

The low birthrate may also lead to rising non-wage labor costs, BDO warned in the study.

"Without strong labour markets, Germany cannot maintain its economic edge in the long run," BDO board member Arno Probst said.