Germany Population and Religion

Germany Population and Religion


Germany is the most populous state within the European Union. The number of residents shows a slightly increasing tendency due to migration gains. Nevertheless, according to projections, it will decrease continuously from around 2030, mainly due to the low birth rate (2019: 1.54). The rising number of births (from 2012) contrasts with a rapidly growing number of deaths, so that the gap between those born and those who died is widening. Demographic change is particularly evident in increasing aging (overaging) and a decline in the labor force. The number will probably be lower than the number of people over 65 by 2030.

Population development in Germany

year total (million) 1) Territory – old federal states Territory – new federal states and East Berlin
1939 59.7 43.0 16.7
1947 65.9 2) 45.4 20.5 3)
1950 68.4 50.0 18.4
1956 70.7 53.0 17.7
1960 72.7 55.4 17.2
1965 75.6 58.6 17.0
1970 77.7 60.7 17.1
1975 78.7 61.8 16.8
1980 78.3 61.5 16.7
1985 77.6 61.0 16.6
1990 79.4 63.3 16.1
1995 81.7 66.2 15.5
2000 82.2 67.1 15.1
2005 82.4 65.7 16.7 3)
2010 82.1 65.7 16.4 3)
2014 80.8 64.8 15.9 3)
2019 83.2 67.0 16.2 3)
1) According to the territorial status of 1971.2) Of these 1.13 million displaced persons, disarmed members of the armed forces and civil internees.

3) Including all of Berlin.

Births and deaths in Germany

Per 1,000 residents
year Live born Died
1946 14.3 15.5
1950 16.3 10.9
1955 15.8 11.3
1960 17.3 12.0
1965 17.5 12.0
1970 13.5 12.6
1975 9.9 12.6
1980 11.0 12.1
1985 10.5 12.0
1990 11.4 11.6
1995 9.4 10.8
2000 9.3 10.2
2005 8.3 10.1
2010 8.3 10.5
2014 8.8 10.7
2019 9.4 11.3

Development: Until 1939, almost exclusively Germans lived in Germany; the strongest minority were Poles. After the Second World War, the continuous growth of the population in the western federal states was mainly due to an influx of people from outside, in addition to an initial surplus of births. By 1953, around 10.6 million displaced persons and refugees had come from the former German eastern regions and states of east-central and south-eastern Europe. Up until 1961, immigration from the GDR played a major role in the growth in the West. Since the 1960s, the cyclical immigration of foreign workers (“guest workers”) has played the greatest role. As of 1972 there was a surplus of deaths.

In the area of ​​the GDR, the population initially increased after the end of the war as a result of the influx of refugees and resettlement from the east, but then decreased until the second half of the 1970s. The strong emigration of workers to the Federal Republic of Germany until 1961 (construction of the Berlin Wall) and a high surplus of women as a result of the war contributed to this. A total of almost 900,000 people went to West Germany and West Berlin in 1961–88. After the democratic change in 1989/90 (German unity) once again a large number of residents, especially those of working age, left the eastern German parts of the country. 1991-2018 a total of 3.8 million people migrated from East to West Germany, in the opposite direction there were 2.5 million removals. The migration balance has been almost balanced since 2014, after the East German migration losses had already declined since 2001.

Immigration from abroad fell from a peak in 1992 (1.5 million people); In 2008, Germany recorded a loss of migration for the first time since 1984. From 2010, however, the number of immigrants again exceeded that of emigrants. A total of around 11.2 million people with foreign citizenship were living in Germany at the end of 2019. More than twice as many residents had a migration background. Almost 70% of the foreigners came from European countries, 43% from EU countries, primarily Poland, Romania and Italy. At around 13%, the highest proportion of foreigners was made up of Turkish citizens. The number of German repatriates fell significantly in the 1990s (Russian Germans). Belong to the national minorities Sinti and Roma, Danes in southern Schleswig, Lusatian Sorbs and Frisians.

Distribution: The average population density of 233 residents per km 2 in 2019 was almost twice as high as the average in the European Union. The population distribution is quite different, mainly due to the continued growth of the economic and urban agglomerations for around 100 years. The largest conurbation is the Ruhr area. Other areas of population concentration are the Rhine-Neckar area, the Rhine-Main area, the Saarland, Hanover, Munich and Nuremberg / Fürth. In the heavily industrialized south of the East German federal states, three densely populated areas stand out: Halle – Leipzig, Chemnitz – Zwickau and the Dresden area. Overall, the East German settlement structure is more rural than the West German one.

After the Second World War, cities in particular experienced above-average growth, so that a noticeable lack of living space became apparent, even if many families with children in particular migrated to the outskirts (suburbanization). One third of the population lives in each of the 81 large cities (100,000 residents and more) and in municipalities between 10,000 and 50,000 residents.

The biggest cities in Germany

Residents (December 31, 2019)
Berlin 3 669 500
Hamburg 1,847,300
Munich 1 484 200
Cologne 1,087,900
Frankfurt am Main 763 400
Stuttgart 635 900
Dusseldorf 621 900
Leipzig 593 100
Dortmund 588 300
meal 582 800
Bremen 567 600
Dresden 556 800


The Basic Law (Articles 4 and 140) obliges the state to tolerance, neutrality and parity towards all religions and religious societies and guarantees freedom of belief, conscience and belief, subject to general state laws. The Catholic Church and the member churches of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) have the status of a corporation under public law, as do most of the free churches. The Catholic Church (2019) has around 22.6 million members, the EKD member churches 20.7 million. The numbers of registered members of both denominational groups are precisely recorded at regular intervals; they are steadily falling. More than half of the population in Germany belongs to Christian denominations, including groups that refer to Christian-Biblical traditions, such as the New Apostolic Church and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

According to mysteryaround, the largest non-Christian religious community is Islam with an estimated 5 million members. The majority of the Sunni Muslims are of Turkish origin. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims have organized themselves in mosque associations or other Islamic associations. The largest local Islamic community are the Muslims in Berlin (around 250,000–300,000 believers).

The Jewish religious communities have a total of almost 95,000 members (2019); Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt am Main and Düsseldorf have the largest individual Jewish communities. The umbrella organization of Jewish communities and associations is the Central Council of Jews in Germany.

Under the umbrella of the German Buddhist Union – Buddhist Religious Community (DBU; founded in 1955) 62 member communities came together (2019). It is estimated that around 0.3% of the population actively follow Buddhism. The assumed total number of Hindus living in Germany is around 0.1% of the population. One of the largest Hindu temples in Europe is located in Hamm.

Germany Population and Religion

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