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What is demography?


The word comes from Greek and means “the science and teaching of the description and analysis of population.”

Development of population

This development indicates how the numbers and structure of the population develop within a certain area and time. The changes are determined by fertility, mortality and migration.

“Tree” of change

Have a look at these two pictures, showing how the age structure in Germany has changed over the years. The size of the population in a certain age group is shown on each line. Each row of numbers on the left indicates age from 0 to 100 years and below you can read the number of people.

Data source: 13th coordinated future population calculation for Germany, variation 2, Federal Statistics Office, 2015


The world in Bielefeld

Would you believe it? People from 151 nations of the 194 nations worldwide live in Bielefeld. Most of them come from Turkey, Greece or Poland, although you can find men, women and children from Iraq, China or the USA here in Bielefeld. Their numbers vary considerably in the municipal districts of our town: there are people of 102 different nationalities living in Heepen and in the centre of Bielefeld there are even more nationalities – 132! On the other hand, fewer nationalities are represented in Jöllenbeck and Sennestadt, where there are people from 75 and 73 countries of origin respectively. All of these people have brought their own background stories with them; some followed their families here, others came to work and some were forced to flee from war and persecution. One thing they all have in common, however, is that they are all living here together with us in Bielefeld.





Data source: Demographic report 2014, Stadt Bielefeld, 2014

We´re becoming fewer, older and more mixed

A lot of figures have been collected in demographic research und it has become clear what the future will be like in German towns and cities. The trend shows that fewer children will be born, there will be more older people and more people who have come here from other countries.

What exactly is going to happen?

  1. In the year 2040 there will be a lot more people who are older than 60 living in Germany. In addition, people are living longer.
    In demographic terms, this is called ageing.
  1. At the same time, fewer children will be born.
    Demographers call this a drop in the birth rate.
  1. There will be more people who have come to Germany from other countries and cultures.
    Demographers call this immigration or migration.
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