Germany, like many other European countries, is currently undergoing a significant demographic change. The population is shrinking with an ever increasing number of older people and a decreasing number of young people. This transformation process which is called “democraphic change” constitutes one of the most significant social policy challenges for our country.
According to the forecasts of the Federal Statistical Office, Germany's population will shrink by approx. 17 million by the year 2060. One third of the population will then be older than 65 years. One out of seven people living in Germany – that is some 10 million people - will even be aged 80 and over.
The changes in the population’s age structure are essentially caused by two factors: the consistently low birth rates and the continuing rise in life expectancy.
In the next few decades, this demographic development will impact almost all areas of life and policy, the social and economic development and social cohesion in our country. This cross-sectional task can only be mastered on the basis of an interdepartmental policy approach. In the autumn of 2011, the Federal Government will submit a report on the demographic situation and future development of the country which will form the basis for an interdepartmental demographic strategy to be submitted by 2012. The drafting of the report and strategy is co-ordinated at the Fe¬deral Government level by a Committee of State Secretaries on "demography” which is chaired by the Federal Ministry of the Interior. The report and the strategy are aimed at highlighting the opportunities resulting from demographic change and at developing guidelines for a co-ordinated demographic policy of the Federal Government.