Assuming that you, gentle readers, are not yet entirely absorbed by your preparations for the upcoming month of watching simple games of 22 men runnung after a ball before, well, Gary Lineker will hopefully be proven right again*, here’s some more interesting information about the country that is now officially run from the FIFA headquarter in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Yesterday, the German statistical office published the 2005 microcensus, which includes some interesting numbers that are the result of a partly changed methodology. First of all, as Die Zeit online explains in more detail (in German), the statisticians finally decided to explain to the public that politicians are indeed prone to using numbers only based on political context, not on their factual one.
The issue at hand is, unsurprisingly, a demographic one: The politically alleged lack of mothers with an academic background – an issue that has haunted the German political agenda for quite some time now and led to hopefully fertility enhancing billboard campaigns to unbearable amounts of televised chats featuring an unbearable amount of politicians whose ability to read statistics seems questionable, to say the least. As children are apparently predominantly conceived as cost units, particularly for those who who have siginificant opportunity costs, the issue has also led to one of the social policy innovations implemented by the governing grand coalition: a bottom to top redistribution and expansion of federal benefits given to young parents – what was a means-tested benefit after six months before now consists of 12-14 months of income-dependent payments (67% of the previous net income up to 1800â‚¬/month).
I suppose the statisticians did not want to burn their fingers by saying earlier what they are saying clearyl with the publication of the microcensus: there’s just no way to know the fertility rate of women with academic background, not least because the microcensus is not actually asking for the actual number of children born to a woman. Whatever number is cited is produced indirectly, taken from a different context, and probably for a reason.
But that’s still not all statistical headline news: After refining some definitions to attempt to reflect the social reality more accurately, the statistical office now puts the number of foreigners and people with an “immigrational background” at 15.3m (more: Die Welt, in German)or just about 20% of the entire German population (included are 3rd generation immigrants and those born to one native German and one foreign parent (2.7m)). That is quite a lot, and it is reassuring, as it shows that Germany has been coping quite well with a significantly more diverse population.)
So it seems there’s still hope if the state-engineered fertilitiy campaign should fail to boost the number of future social security contributors.
* Gary Lineker once said, quoted from memory, “It’s a simple game played by 22 men, and in the end Germany win”.