With 1.357 million new born babies, Germany registered its highest birth rate in 1964, since when the country has been at a low as far as births are concerned (in 2014 there were 715,000 new babies born). Since 1975 the average number of births, allowing for slight fluctuations, has been about 1.3 children per woman. As such, 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 77 years, for women 82 years.
The demographic changes and the serious impact this has on economic development and the welfare systems is being cushioned by immigration. A total of 20.3 percent of the people living in Germany (16.4 million) have a migration background: 9.2 million of them have a German passport, 7.2 million are foreigners. Members of four national minorities are recognized 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).