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(Feature): German birth rate hits all-time low: Statistics

BERLIN, July 3 — Never before had so fewer babies been born in Germany as the natural birth rate in the so far most-populous European country hits an all-time low, arousing widespread concerns about the population-related issues in the future, the latest statistics showed Monday.

Merely 663,000 children were born in 2011, 15,000 fewer than the year before, and declined by 2.2 percent, according to a report based on the preliminary data by the Wiesbaden-based Federal Statistical Office of Germany.

By comparison, there were still nearly 1.4 million newly-born babies in Germany in 1964, while since then, the birth rate kept on a downward trends steadily.

Since 1972, the deaths had outnumbered that of the newly-born children, while the gap between the birth-death ratio also increased remarkably during the past years.

The number of deaths in 2011 fell only slightly by 0.7 percent to reach at 852,000, however, its momentum still remains a little bit stronger than in the births, statistics showed.

Despite the negative trends persisted, the German population increased last year due to a remarkable influx of more immigrants into the country, as a total of 279,000 people moved into and settled down in Germany in 2011, posting the highest figure during the past decade.

As a consequence, it added up nearly 100,000 inhabitants into the German population as a whole, said Reinhold Zahn, a leading expert of Destatis, at the press conference in Wiesbaden.

Statistics point to the fact that a downward trend of the total population growth rate in Germany would continue in a long run, by no means would it be stoppable.

Fewer birth rates also mean that it will in turn lead to fewer mothers in a few decade ahead, while if nowadays-born girls grow up as the women who also keep nowadays' average birth rate of less than 2.1 children, the number of babies will inevitably continue to decline.

In that scenario, the number of deaths rate will increase in light of the problem of an aging society become more and more acute.

Statistics showed that the Germans were not only tend to have fewer children, they are also less likely to marry, as the number of marriages declined year on year by 1.1 percent, with just 378,000 pairs in 2011 having got the marriage knot. (PNA/Xinhua) scs/LOR/ebp

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