What will change in the 2020s

Work, housing, transport: what Germany will look like in 2030

  • Not only does a new year begin on January 1st, it also begins the 2020s. How will our lives change in the coming decade? Where will we be in 2030? Inin our # Deutschland2030 series, we want to provide answers.
  • This part is about what data and numbers reveal about our future.
  • According to demographers, the year 2024 will mark a turning point in German history. It is the year in which the population shrinks for the first time. This has significant consequences for our economy and society.
  • You can find more articles from the series here.

From share prices to per capita income to birth rates: Numbers reveal a lot about the world we live in today. And they allow a glimpse into the future, even if the predictions are not always 100 percent correct.

Here are seven predictions by researchers and analysts what Germany will look like in 2030:

1. Germany is shrinking.

In the post-war period Germany developed into a growth country, also in terms of population. Due to the baby boomer effect and positive net immigration, the population has grown steadily since 1950, from 69.3 million then to 83.1 million today.

However, the demographers of the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) assume that there will be a historic turning point by 2024 at the latest. It is the year in which the population is expected to shrink for the first time.

The highest level in German society will therefore be reached in 2024 at 83.7 million people and should return to the current level by 2030. By 2060, the number is expected to drop to 74.2 million.

More retirees, fewer births

According to Destatis, there is a simple explanation for the negative trend: The gap between births and deaths is widening because baby boomers are getting old.

This is a trend that has been evident for decades, says demographic expert Bettina Sommer from the Federal Statistical Office: "Without net immigration, the population would have been shrinking for a long time, since the number of deaths has exceeded the number of births every year since 1972."

2. Aging is hitting the labor market with full force.

The change in the population pyramid will pose major challenges for the welfare state in the 2020s and beyond, predicts the Federal Statistical Office:

"Due to the current age structure, a decline in the working-age population and an increase in the number of senior citizens are mapped out over the next 20 years."

Specifically, the number of people in employment is expected to fall by 3.4 million by 2030, while the number of retirees will increase by three million over the same period. This is also due to the fact that the baby boomer generation is retiring from working life towards the end of the 2020s.

This aging is likely to hit the labor market with full force, especially since there is already a considerable shortage of skilled workers in many areas.

An example: In view of the aging of society, a higher demand for skilled workers is expected, especially in the care sector. According to the Nursing Report 2019 by the AOK Scientific Institute (WIdO), around 130,000 new positions will have to be filled by 2030.

A gap that, from today's perspective, can hardly be closed by one's own efforts, because the market for nursing staff has already been swept empty. However, the demographic effect is likely to affect other industries as well.

3. Education is becoming more important than ever.

Digitization and technical progress are creating many new job profiles that did not exist 30 years ago. At the same time, some jobs are falling victim to this development.

Computers are already doing some tasks much faster and more correctly than humans - and their range of services is expected to continue to expand in the years to come. This has consequences for the job market and the way we prepare the next generation for working life.

"The importance of education will continue to increase in the future", says the labor market forecast 2030 of the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS).

Technological progress means that simple work - for example on the assembly line or in administration - is no longer necessary, while complex and creative activities are in great demand.

The ministry therefore assumes that the demand for skilled workers with a university degree will increase by almost three million positions by 2030, while the number of jobs for entirely unskilled workers will decrease by 3.4 million and jobs for skilled workers with vocational training by almost one million go back.

4. The jobs of the future are social and technical in nature.

According to the BMAS labor market forecast for 2030, social and health professions, managers and executives as well as technical professions will be very popular in the future.

The biggest winners (selection):

  • Jobs for university graduates: +3,000,000 positions (including +1,300,000 for economists and social scientists)
  • Health professions: +180,000 jobs
  • Managers and officers: +170,000 jobs
  • Nursing and support services: +120,000 positions
  • personal service occupations: +110,000 jobs
  • creative professions (artists, publicists): +90,000 positions

The biggest losers (selection):

  • Manufacturing occupations: -1,000,000 jobs
  • Administrative and office jobs: -800,000 jobs
  • Education professions: -180,000 jobs

5. Prosperity increases.

The federal government is looking to the future with great optimism and expects gross domestic product (GDP) to grow between 1.1 and 1.5 percent annually until 2030.

The long-term forecast of the OECD agrees with these values. However, economic forecasts over such a long period are considered extremely unreliable because they depend on a large number of global factors.

6. There is no easing in sight on the housing market.

Although the population has been declining from the mid-2020s, the demand for housing is increasing in many regions. According to the findings of the Federal Institute for Building, Urban and Spatial Research (BBSR), this is mainly due to the increasing number of households.

In other words, more and more individual forms of living are taking the place of large families under one roof. The number of single and two-person households is expected to increase significantly by 2030.

Many young people seem to be drawn to the city. As a result, the housing shortage is increasing, especially in the western German metropolitan areas. According to the demand forecast BBSR, the big cities and their suburbs are coming under pressure.

Around Berlin, the BBSR expects the highest values ​​in Germany with an increase in demand of up to 17 percent, around Munich (Dachau, Ebersberg, Starnberg, Fürstenfeldbruck) it is up to 16 percent.

The regions in the eastern regions of Germany, on the other hand, seem to be the losers in this development. The largest migrations are in the Dessau-Roßlau district in Saxony-Anhalt (-16 percent), in Gera in Thuringia (-13 percent) and in the Oberspreewald-Lausitz district in Brandenburg (-12 percent).

7. Private car and air traffic continues to increase, despite climate change.

The Federal Ministry of Transport anticipates that the volume of traffic by car, bus, train and co. Will increase nationwide by 1.2 billion journeys by 2030, which would correspond to an increase of 1.2 percent compared to the base year 2010. And this despite the fact that the population has declined over the same period.

The main drivers of this development are expected economic growth and the sustained increase in private car traffic. According to the ministry, this will increase by 4.6 percent by 2030. "In addition to the expansion of the car fleet, the increase in leisure mobility is responsible for the ongoing expansion," says the accompanying report on the traffic forecast for 2030.

Rail traffic is expected to increase by around seven percent by 2030, while the number of passengers is expected to more than double (58 percent). Public road passenger transport alone is declining, with a drop of two percent.

Also noteworthy: the ministry expects a decrease in the number of pedestrians. Pedestrian traffic is expected to decrease by 7.5 percent, which is also related to the aging of society and the decline in the number of students.