Notes de l'Ifri Notes du Cerfa

Between aging and migrations: the difficult German equation Notes du Cerfa, No. 138, Ifri, June 2017

The decision of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to welcome over one million refugees in the years 2015 and 2016 had been interpreted by some to be a strategic choice to cope with the demographic problems that Germany is facing: the expected decline in the population, especially in its work force, as well an ageing population. 


However, the present study shows that immigration cannot bring an end to the ageing process that Germany has been experiencing for decades. And it is only part of the solution to labour shortage. While the shortage in German labour is mostly in intermediate to highly skilled workers, refugees primarily fall into the unskilled labour category.

Consequently, the mass influx of refugees is neither in the short nor the medium term a response to Germany’s demographic issues. Nevertheless, this does not prevent the government from increasing efforts to integrate the newly arrived into the work force in order to avoid past mistakes and facilitate economic and social integration of the refugees.

Anne Salles is Lecturer at Paris Sorbonne University, Member of SIRICE Joint Research Unit (Sorbonne-Identities, International Relations and Civilizations of Europe) and Associate Researcher at National Institute for Demographic Studies (INED).

This paper is published in French only - Anne Salles, « Entre vieillissement et migrations : la difficile équation allemande », Notes du Cerfa, n° 138, Ifri, juin 2017.

demography migrations Germany