Facts and figures
Population share and trends by age
At the end of 2009, 16.9 million of Germany's approximately 81.8 million inhabitants were aged 65 and over. This means that more than one in five inhabitants (20.7%) was of retirement age. The elderly's share of the population varies greatly from region to region: a comparatively larger number of senior citizens aged 65 and over (an average of 23.5%) lived in the eastern federal states (excluding Berlin). Saxony had the highest share at 24.7%, followed by Saxony-Anhalt at 24.2%. The western federal states have a smaller share of senior citizens at an average 20.2%. The lowest figures are to be found in the city states of Berlin at 19.1% and Hamburg at 19.0%. In the West of Germany, Saarland has the highest share of senior citizens at 22.2%.
Since 1990, the number of senior citizens has increased by around 42% (five million people) nationwide. During the same period, the population has only risen by 2.6% nationwide so it is growing at a far slower rate than the number of senior citizens. Demographic change is particularly marked in the east: whilst the total population there has declined by 12.3% since 1990 (1.8 million inhabitants), the number of senior citizens has increased by around 50% (one million people). This trend has been accelerated by the exodus of mostly young people to the west. In the west, however, the aging process has been attenuated by the immigration from the east and from abroad: the number of senior citizens has increased comparatively less by around 40% (3.8 million people), with the total population there growing by 6.3% (3.9 million inhabitants) during the same period.
The majority of senior citizens are female: at the end of 2008, 57.7% of people aged 65 and over were women and 42.3% were men. Around three out of every five people in this age group were married (57.8%), this being far more prevalent in the case of men at around 75% than in the case of women at round 45%. Almost three out of ten senior citizens (29.3%) had lost their spouse, with elderly women far more often being widowed (41.3% or four million) than elderly men (13% or 0.9 million). Only 6% of people aged 65 and over had remained single, with 6.9% being divorced.
(Source: Statistisches Bundesamt (German statistical office)).
In 2007, the average age of heads of household, i.e., main wage earners, in Germany was 48.3 years. Overall, more than a third of all heads of household are already of retirement age.
Schweinfurt heads the list of senior citizens' preferred domiciles. More than half of all heads of household there already belong to the 'silver generation', the same applies to the Bavarian cities of Bamberg and Passau. A comparison of federal states shows Saarland, Thuringia and Saxony to be those most favoured by pensioners.
A good 11% of all heads of household in Germany have not yet reached the third decade of their lives. The most young households are to be found in Greifswald in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Just under a quarter of the main wage earners there are under thirty years of age. In Rostock, approximately one in five belongs to this age group. In Schweinfurt, however, only a tenth of all heads of household are younger than thirty.
Purchasing power and age
An examination of total volumes reveals that the 40 to 49-year-olds are ahead in the purchasing power stakes at EUR 368 billion, followed by senior citizens aged 65 and over at EUR 339 billion. The total disposable income available to 30 to 39-year-olds is EUR 289 billion, followed by the EUR 272 billion available to 50 to 59-year-olds.