With regard to demographic developments there are three clear trends in Germany: a low birth rate, rising life expectancy, and an aging society. With 1.36 million babies born, Germany registered its highest birth rate in 1964, since when the country has been at a low as far as births are concerned. In 2016 however the number of new babies born rose for the fifth year in a row; with a birth rate of 1.59 children per woman, Germany moved into the European statistical midfield. Nonetheless, for 35 years the generation of children has been about a third smaller than that of its parents – nowadays there are twice as many 50-year-olds as there are newborn babies. At the same time, life expectancy is rising. For men it is on average 78 years, for women 83 years.
The demographic changes and the serious impact they have on economic development and the welfare systems are being cushioned by immigration. Just over 22 percent of the people living in Germany (18.6 million) have a migration background. More than half of them have a German passport. Members of four national minorities are recognised as having long-established roots and enjoy special protection and support: the Danish minority (50,000) and the Friesian ethnic group (60,000) in north Germany, the Lusatian Sorbs (60,000) along the German-Polish border, and the German Sinti and Roma (70,000).