People of Germany
Photographic Book Germany

Germany has a total population of 82,329,758 (2009 estimate). As is the case in many industrialized countries, the German population has grown substantially older, on average, since the early 20th century. This is a result of declining birth rates and the shrinking of family size as Germans have chosen to have fewer children. In addition, the numbers of single-parent and one-person households are increasing. The German population is overwhelmingly urban. Germany has more than three dozen cities exceeding 200,000 residents, and 12 metropolises with more than 500,000 residents. Three of Germany’s federal states are city-states: Berlin, Bremen, and Hamburg. Berlin is the capital and largest city.

Germany’s population density is highest in the northwest, especially in North Rhine-Westphalia (Nordrhein-Westfalen), which includes Germany’s old industrial heartland, the Ruhr Valley, and a number of large cities. Population density is lower in the former East Germany and in the more rural states of Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), and Bavaria.

Several ethnic minorities live in Germany, including the Danes of northern Schleswig-Holstein and the Sorbs of southeastern Brandenburg, who are descended from the Slavic tribes called the Wends. The largest group of foreign residents in Germany is Turkish. Although more than a million refugees from Eastern Europe, especially the Soviet Union, sought asylum in Germany in the late 1980s and early 1990s, only about 5 percent were granted asylum.

Immigrants have also arrived in Germany from the original member countries of the European Union (EU), such as Italy, Spain, and Greece. Encarta
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