THE POLITICAL PAGE

February / March 2008

 

Population Decrease in Germany – Figures, Reasons, Consequences

 

Dear Readership

 

Once again I took up a central theme of our country. It has the increasing power of an avalanche. It was already the central theme of German domestic policy in the past two years. The basic question is: Is our people slowly dying out? Have we resigned already? Or are there also some other possibilities to stop the avalanche of disaster? And are the government measures sufficient, respectively do they make any sense?

 

I do apologize for the size of this gigantic article which is due to a gigantic theme. I am still publishing the article in its full size and it is your choice, dear readership, whether you will put the article away or read it in sections. I wanted to present the whole article to you and not portion it out myself.

But because it is an oversized article the next Political Page will appear in three months, i.e. in May.

 

Thank you for your interest, your prayers and also your gifts, I always need for the prayer ministry in Germany and Europe .

 

Yours

 

Ortwin Schweitzer

 

 

 

INFORMATION

 

It is high time now. Therefore, first a quote from the DIE ZEIT no. 4 of 20th January 2005 :

Germany is shrinking and aging. For decades already the birth rate of our country on the decrease; instead of 2.1 children which are necessary in order to maintain the population figure, couples can only afford 1.3 offspring's. For a long time already we have only regarded this development from the point of view of individual life structures. Every individual person had to know whether he/she wants to have a family or not. For ten years already the debate circles around the concern regarding public welfare: If we are less and lesser people, who will pay social security contributions, who pays for medical care and who pays taxes for the maintenance of schools, museums, streets and swimming pools?

We need to ask ourselves the unsparing question: do we want to survive as society or not? If the answer is yes, we are standing in front of a paradigm shift of great importance: Family policy is no longer allowed to be on the fringes as ‘soft theme'. If we take the problems of the demographic change seriously – and we have all the reasons to do so – family policy has to become a population policy comprising the contribution of all social powers: policy (from local level up to the Federal Government) but also churches and associations, unions and especially the economy. Especially for their concerns the offspring is an imperative: It needs the consumers as well as the skilled employees supply; it prospers in living regions with intact families, not in drought landscapes. Companies will no longer survive without skilled female labours who want to be mothers and employed at the same time.

The future locational factor is called family friendliness and regions which are not successful in creating a family friendly climate will be left empty-handed on the long term.

 

 

Although, Gerhard Schröder the former Chancellor considered family policy to be a fuss or something like that when he took over power in 1998 following the ‘good tradition' of the former governments, family policy has stepped out from behind the shadow of ‘big resorts' due to its development in past ten years and has meanwhile become one of the most important ministries for future development. Only a few ministers have stirred up public interest in the past two years like Ursula von der Leyen with her family political attempts. Yes, we can say without exaggerating: the right population policy will become a matter of survival for Germany as a nation, i.e. which are the incentives the state has to initiate for men and women of the middle generation in order to have a higher birth rate? Therefore the family policy of individual parties will become a central question in future elections. It must be pointed out how far parties will follow ideological guidelines or pay attention to the real manifestations and clear desires of the potential generation of parents commented in opinion polls.

1. Talking figures

(Federal Office of Statistics Wiesbaden 2007, regarding the years before 2006)

 

1.1 Number of Children

In 2006 672 724 children were born in Germany 13 071 less compared to the previous year – unfortunately. But fortunately enough compared to 19 827 children between 2004 and 2005. However, we already had fluctuations a few years ago. The record was registered between 2003 and 2004, when the birth rate decreased by only 1099 children.

Altogether the birth rate decreased to 94 275 children between 2000 and 2006, whereas it is remarkable that rate decreased inconsiderably by 1621 children in the new Federal States since 2001 compared to the West where the rate reached 10 000 children; the big plummet in both parts was between 2000 an 2001 with approx. 48.000 in the West and approx. 13.000 in the East. What happened here?

It is also remarkable that within the number of new born children which is altogether on the decrease, the number of illegitimate tie-ups is on the increase every year: from 179 574 in 2000 to 201 519 in 2006. Although, the percentage of the general birth rate figure was obviously below 25% it has already amounted to 28%. At the same time the number of marriages decreased from 418 550 to 44 869 i.e. the illegitimate long-term relationships increasing. The increasing number in children in these life-forms reflects the increasing number of children of divorced parents respectively of children in patch-work families.

Compared to 1996 the figure of ‚alternative families' of single parents and illegitimate long-term relationships with children increased by 30% to 2.3 million in 2006. At the same time the figure of married couples with children ('traditional families') decreased by 16% to 6.5 million. Despite this shift it becomes obvious that families with married couples and children are still in majority which means 74%.

In Berlin the figure of alternative family forms of single parents or life-forms of adult people with children is 47% (1996: 34%); Baden-Württemberg with 20% has the lowest figure (1996: 15%).

 

1.2. Number of Children per Family

Out of the 471 205 children born in legitimate relationships in 2006 were

208 081

179 586

58 580

16 135

4 833

3 990

1st child of parents

the 2 nd child

the 3rd child

the 4th child

the 5th child

the 6th child

 

Unfortunately, we have no chronological details regarding the 201 519 illegitimate children.

However, the numerical sequence of legitimate children shows:

•  More then ¾ of children are either the 1 st or 2 nd child. The distance between 1st and 2nd child amounts to 28 thousands.

•  Between 2 nd and 3 rd child we have a huge slump of approx. 120 thousands less.

•  The percentage slump from child to child almost amounts to the same number.

On average we have 1.61 minor children per family in Germany . In 1996 the figure amounted to 1.65. This however, was the figure in the western Federal States in 2006 whereas in the east it plummeted to 1.43 children.

With 1.69 children per family Lower Saxony is ranked first in this statistics whereas Mecklenburg West-Pomeranian is ranked last with 1.40 children. With 1.50 Berlin has the Best value in the East.

 

1.3. Fertility

The result is interesting and surprising when comparing the number of new born children in the Federal States with the number of inhabitants. The result for 2006 then means: One baby for how many inhabitants? The average in the Federal State with 82.5 million citizens and 672 724 birth was 122 inhabitants. Hamburg and Berlin proved the most fertile regions with 109 respectively 110 inhabitants. 110. It is remarkable because both are obviously below the Federal average of 1.65 with a figure of 1.58 children per family respectively 1.50 children per family. That means 2006 was a very good year for both city states. The reason seems to be due to young people who prefer to move to both big cities for work and studies but are not able to afford more then one or two children at the most. And if we consider Berlin 's top position regarding alternative life-forms it is comprehensible why it is not possible to have more children per family.

In comparison it is interesting that Baden-Wurttemberg is in top-position regarding normal family structures (80%) and in fertility it is ranked 3 rd with 116 inhabitants, i.e. Baden-Wurttemberg has rather larger families and many young people move to Baden-Wurttemberg and plant families due to the greater job-certainty since Baden-Wurttemberg has the lowest unemployment rate (also compare solution possibilities no. 2 „Familienatlas“).

1.4. Nationality

It is interesting that out of 672 724 children born in 2006 only 29 176 were children of foreign parents compared to the year 2000 when the number amounted to 49 776 children. That means the number is on the decrease.

The majority (643 548) however are children of German nationality. The majority among them (335 190) children are children of legitimate German couples. Since 1st January 2000 children born in Germany are Germans by law if one of the parents has been living in Germany for 8 years with a permanent residence permit.

In this respect we have new born babies whose fathers are (already) Germans and the mothers are foreigners or the other side round. The illegitimate couples where the mother is a German and the father a foreigner form the majority with 182 525 birth.

For many years already there has been an increase in birth rate among German-foreign couples compared to German-German couples.

 

1.5. Denomination

The membership of children, of course, is distributed to all denominations located in Germany in following sequence:

 

 

The father's religion:

Mother

alltogether

Lutheran

Catholic

Irreligious

Islamic religion

Catholic

194 994

37 813

111 879

23 613

3 289

Lutheran

185 465

85 672

39 238

36 666

2 312

Irreligious (without Church membership)

170 372

18 731

12 709

110 073

2 385

Islamic religion

69 599

593

918

1 507

63 314

 

It becomes obvious that the irreligious (those without denomination) are the third religious power in Germany . That means that children will grow up in families without Christian cultural assets. Question when looking to the cross: (“Who is the one hanging there?”)

 

The bonding power of the Lutheran Church proves to be the weakest – even less then those without religion. The bonding power of Islam seems to be the strongest by far. Bonding power means choosing the partner according to one's own belief and to consider it to be important.

 

1.6. Families

The Federal Office of Statistics in Wiesbaden defines “Family” as: A parents-child community with at least one child below 18 years. Therefore, families with only adult children , whether married or not or single parents , are not included within this statistical “family” term. The reason for this definition consists in the office's task as a Federal Office. Their statistics serve for the planning of nursery schools and schools or even the development of parent benefits, for example.

In 2006 39% of the population either lived as parents or children below 18 years in families.

A comparison of the Federal States shows that in 2006 Baden Wurttemberg had 42% families whereas - as already mentioned - only 20% lived in alternative forms such as single parents or long-term relationships.

The family decrease in the East is very noticeable. In 1996, 49% of the inhabitants lived together in families in Mecklenburg West-Pomeranian compared to 34% ten years later. After Berlin , Mecklenburg West-Pomeranian with 34% has the highest figure of alternative families. 43%.

The figure of families in Germany has constantly been on the decrease. 10 years ago the figure amounted to 9.4 million families compared to 8.8 million, i.e. 668 000 today. It is distressing that the number of families in the East decreased by 630 000 i.e. 28% compared to the minus in the even larger West with 37 000 (-1%). We can talk about a huge plummet in families in the new Federal States.

 

1.7. World Population

Examinations made on behalf of the UNO regarding the world population revealed amazing things.

No industrialized country has a birth rate which is high enough to maintain a constant population figure. Probably Germany will lose as many inhabitants in the next 50 years as many inhabitants the GDR had before. Japan reached its highest point in 2005 and will decrease in the next 50 years by 1/3. Iran has recorded a decrease in birth rate of 2/3 since the revolution and will have more elderly people then children around the year 2030.

Chinas population policy is known: one child per couple. In addition to this female foetus are aborted and therefore today, they have 117 boys for 100 girls. Due to this consequent population control Chinese society will a society of old people: up to the midst of the century 30% of Chinese people will be older than 60 years.

59 States i.e. 44% of the world's population presently have not enough children in order to avoid a decrease in population. Since 1960 the population growth has decreased by 40%. We are no longer faced with the overpopulation problem but with the decrease in population. According to UNO computation the number of people living on earth in 2070 will reach the peak with 9 billion people and decrease constantly afterwards.

The prognosis is realistic because of the emerging and developing countries which constantly establish their own industries. This automatically means e rapid urbanization of these countries. In cities children are no longer a help for their parents as in the rural areas but a burden. Urbanization automatically gives birth to a decrease in population. Women learn how to use family planning.

In addition to this whoever wants to be successful in cities needs school education. But this is costly and affordable for two children at the best but not for ten.

Therefore, the age of young adults who are able to form a family is increasing in industrialized countries since in the long term only those branches requiring high qualifications can increase in these states. And if the young woman finally has this qualification she also wants to work at least for some years in the profession which she obtained with huge effort.

Developing countries will experience this process in the same way, only with a much higher speed. The industrialized countries were lucky enough to become rich before growing old. Emerging countries do not have this chance.

 

 

 

BACKGROUNDS

 

1. Paradigm Shift

At the moment it is „politically correct“ to ask how families can be supported in order to include them without friction within the conditions of the world of work. This also includes all efforts regarding part-time work, flexibility and good return possibilities. The labour market, economy and the standard of living i.e. the economic growth is the centre of political actions.

But we already have a premonition what could turn the priority list of the government upside down today – regardless of colour. It is the question: What is the use of the nicest economy if there is a lack of people? There is not only a lack of customers but also a lack of skilled people. Now already companies are courting students in order to secure them as engineers in future for their company. And the „head-hunter“ are trying to pinch the competitor's skilled people with more and more tempting offers. This condition will be even worse in future. Time is foreseeable when the labour market will circle around families and strives for young skilled mothers in particular.

The long-term policy of this country should already adjust to this paradigm shift. In this context it is not about 4 billion for the construction of day-care-nurseries – which is good but only ‘cosmetic' – but it is about a radical ‘metanoia'=change of mind, away from economy as the focus of policy towards families as the re-generation for everything.

 

Great courage and a strong will are needed to face the real reasons for childlessness. Courage, because it requires courage to reconsider the utility of thoughtless disregarded or emotionally rejected matters in peace regarding a solution for this problem.

The courage would already start with the terminology e.g. with the question whether the objectively provable best family form with father-mother-child is to be denoted in future as 'traditional family' in stead of simply calling it the ‘normal family' since it already determines ¾ of families. Historico-cultural and statistically and quantitatively it corresponds to the facts. Allow me to point out that although the substantive 'tradition' in today's German language is unhampered, the adjective ‘traditional' is hampered with the secondary meaning of ‘out-of-date'.

Vague and inexact is also the description of broken families of single parents and of long-term relationships without a legitimate promise of faithfulness in the official language usage of the Federal Office of Statistics: they are called ‘alternative families'. ‚Alternative' is a non-judgemental term for an other possibility in German. The process is comprehensible since we don't want to stigmatize as it happened in the past. But! - we need to admit that from the point of view of a divorced mother divorce and being a single parent is not an 'alternative form' but pain and need.

The same is true for the couples without a legitimate promise of faithfulness at the registrar or even before God's altar. Very often they are the result of past hurts of the one or the other partner and his/her resulting fears. According to the opinion both have it is an early stage, a temporary solution, which can be very durable just as every provisional. To be denoted as ‘alternative' is insincere from the point of view of the persons concerned as well as from the point of view of the state since it does not allocate the same conditions to these ‘families' regarding taxes as to normal families, which are under the protection of the state as stipulated in the basic law §6.

Both family forms can not be defined as ‘alternative' since they do not have the reproduction ability in the sense of people maintenance which actually is the nature of a ‘family'. Of course, regarding single parents this results form their situation of life. Regarding illegitimate long-term relationships it means: ‚I have a partner but I don't know whether he will love me in the long run'. The reason is comprehensible.

The fact that exactly this group of ‚alternative' families show increasing numbers of children from a statistical point of view is due to the increasing divorce rate and the commitment phobia as mentioned before. Two single parents who get married or not have no courage to give birth to other children (‘patchwork families').

 

In order to return to our starting point: if the decrease in population is to be stopped and reversed policy in Germany and in the industrialized countries have to make a paradigm shift by prior zing family policy with the exclusive target of a population growth. It has been proven that historico-culturally and statistically only normal families with reliable relationship structures are suitable in order to reach this goal. To claim something else would go past reality.

 

 

2. Mentality Change

Policy in democracy is reaction to the people's opinion on the one side and manipulation of the people's opinion on the other side and conveyed by the Mass Media. Therefore a paradigm shift in policy can only happen if there will be a change in the mindset of the people at the same time.

Explicitly: As long as the slogan means: ‚Compatibility of family and profession', nothing will change in the mentality saying that the actual fulfilment of life is to be found in gainful employment, in profession and that family has to be ‘managed' somehow in between. The mentality change would then consist in putting family work on a par with professional work by law. Why are women who are raising up three children not receiving any cent and no allowance for their pension in future for looking after their own children and why are they receiving a wage for looking round-a-clock after the three children of a couple in which both partners are employed inclusively social security contributions from the employer, whose costs are tax deductible.

 

To change this would be a paradigm shift for the state– a salary for mother who are bringing up their own children inclusive of social security contribution paid by the state for the maintenance of which she actually works. The effect would be a sweeping mentality change within young women. Because opinion polls showed that most of them want to have children and – if financially possible – they would love to raise them up at home. Probably more couples would have the courage to have children since the salary for upraising children would be a substantial help for the family budget.

This is not said against women's return to work after ‘their children phase'. But, not the ‘parental leave' which is running out after 12 month but the couples themselves have to decide when it will end.

What was normal for the generation of academically skilled women in the past who planned to have some ‘childhood years' when getting married can no longer be assumed and expected today. Today, the ‚costs' for having a child are calculated with a sharp pen by considering expenses and the loss of earnings. The parental leave granted by Ursula von der Leyen is an attempt in this sense. It effects those who already have a good salary but not those with little, law or no salary such as mothers of three children (praise be to them) who can no longer afford to go to work.

 

Of course the state can not afford to pay mothers, especially academics, the same parental leave as the world of work. Idealism continuous to be part of the child, since we also have ‘la joie de vivre' with children which is priceless. But a starvation wage is no incentive. Whoever is bringing up three children a day is allowed to claim a wage on which to live. Even single parents, please!

 

An other family problem would be addressed at the same time: abortion. If children are no longer a risk of poverty but a chance for life, many young ‘one-child-mothers' but also women who already have two children would think before aborting a child and so would ‚single mothers' .

According to ‚Weltweit' the world's population is on the decrease in the course of urbanisation since children represent a burden in city cultures in contrast to agricultural cultures. Industrial states which went in this direction are now called to show solutions leading out of this development. One of these ways would be a salary for upbringing children.

France with a birth rate of 1.88 children per woman compared to Germany with 1.65 children would be an other example. The state pays ‘welcoming money' in the size of 800 EUR to parents for their new born child. They have a child benefit in the size of 161.66 EUR/month plus so many tax benefits which are increasing with the number of children and a family with more then three children with a medium salary is no longer paying taxes practically. Moreover the parental leave is between 126 and 502 EUR/month if one of the parents reduces his working hours or stops going to work. In addition they are granted subsidies for a home help and with every child they are excused from paying pension scheme contributions for two years.

The incentive to have children can obviously be created through very precise and effective subsidies and tax relieves.

 

The state's ‚welcoming money' is once again pointing towards a new direction. On the one hand it shows clear: Children are not only a private issue but ‘father state' is also glad and grateful to parents. On the other side every mother who carried a child with enormous effort and gave birth with pain feels appreciated as mother. These are the signs a state can set when planning to achieve a change in peoples mentality.

Because a further factor hindering women from wanting to have children in the past few years was the destruction of the mother's dignity . An adolescent woman trying to find herself who was told that being a mother only means to be a ‘little housewife', or to be good enough to be there for 'children – kitchen – church' she will think twice - as a modern young woman - whether she wants to ruin her life by having kids. Question: Was the willingness of women, even of academics in the past to dedicate their lives to children linked together with the fact that being a mother was con sidered to be a quite an honour despite effort, full of dignity and something which could not be replaced by anything? And even today it can not be replaced by anything but our culture has to redefine this dignity.

 

It is a pity that discussions raised by Eva Hermann in autumn 2007 regarding this question remained unsuccessful: Her attempt was correct: “We need to revalue the mother image in Germany again,” a statement Eva Hermann correctly linked together with the low birth rate in Germany, according to my opinion. She ventured from the story of the woman's value as mother into the movement of 1968 and the 3rd Reich and got into a muddle which finally leads to her firing from ZDF with Kerner on 9th October 2007 as well to her instant dismissal from NDR. Few days later she said there never was a moment in her life, when she felt she wanted to give up. „I am a deeply believing human being. I draw my motivation from my belief in God."

This shows that Eva Hermann wasn't ‚ ‚rightist extremist' nor was she foolish and naive but that her opinion regarding motherhood was an expression of her Christian belief. With this statement she already irritated the feminists in society beforehand and therefore they needed only one reason in order to throw her out as plausibly as possible. Too bad! However, her question regarding the value of mothers remains.

 

 

3. Sexual Behaviour

Because the previous fragment was about the woman's dignity as a mother, this fragment will deal with the dignity of man as a father.

Although statistics calculates the children quotient based on the number of women between the age of 15 and 50 who are capable of child-bearing in the country, opinion polls among fertile male singles show that the unwillingness of men to take responsibility for a family and for becoming a father is a huge factor which also needs to be considered.

According to a survey made by Forsa in October 2004 among childless people regarding the question why they can not imagine to have a child 44% answered: “Because I haven't found the right partner yet” and “because I'm happy with my life without kids”. 34% said: “because I love to be independent and not to be bound by a child” and 22% said: “Because the responsibility I would have to bear for a child is to big for me". With 9% nursery schools were the next to last answer.

This survey was made among men and women. It shows the personal maturity stage of this generation. The answers are pointing towards the subjective mental state in order to understand the heart of these young people.

 

Of course, this generation is not abstaining from sexual contacts. But – and this is the main difference compared to the past! - Women and men can ‘have sex' (what an expression!) being completely detached from the responsibility of a possible pregnancy. After the first friendship mothers are giving their daughters the box with birth control pills and the Anti-AIDS-advertisement is not growing weary to praise the use of condoms ‘Join in!' for men.

The complete disappearance of the thought of conception after a sexual intercourse is the absolute characteristic for the sexual mating of the time we are living in. Sexual intercourse as the expression of binding love turned into ‚sex' as an expression of non-binding, usually time-dependent friendship or as an expression of male lust, without the girlfriends opposition even though they only got to know each other a short time before. Sex has turned into an always available consumer behaviour.

 

Which inner way has a man of marriageable age with a secure position to go in order to waive his freedom of changing partners for only one woman? In the past, when sexual contact before marriage was ‚prohibited' i.e. unwelcome - even though it was carried out in secret – men were strongly motivated to get married: in order to be able to sleep with this wonderful woman. The sexual desire helped men to overcome their commitment phobia. If man is dispensed with this motivation he already has everything he wants - why should he get caught within the ‘marriage prison'?

Thus, men are missing an important maturity step in their life. He becomes the ‚lone ranger' who is chatting up other women year by year until he realizes that also he is getting older. The attempts of 50 year old singles to remain young and fresh are really embarrassing. They have become old boys. Instead of becoming fathers they have remained big boys because they isolated themselves. ‚In contrast to be fertile means: ‚To blossom within an other person, to dedicate oneself to something new' (Matthias Lauer).

We must teach men to take responsibility for a woman and a child again with their sexuality and in the next maturity stage you will see fathers coming forth in Germany .

 

4. Society

We can only mention all the social reasons for the lack of children briefly:

•  Hostile attitude of landlords to rent suitable flats; and if they do rent their flats rental fees are unaffordable.

•  There are only a flats offering room for more then two children today.

•  Almost every qualified job requires mobility today respectively, moving to an other place.

•  A possible sudden loss of a ‚secure' job.

•  Whoever has a job has to work more hours then before: exhaustion in the evening and having to work on weekends. The company is not interested in the leisure time and family of the employee.

•  The training time needed for qualified professions goes up to the age of 30. In addition to this there are the years of placements during which planning a family was unthinkable from the point of view time and finances. And afterwards – when the age of 30 is already reached – many women think they are too old. Furthermore fertility decreases at this age.

 

 

 

SOLUTION POSSIBILITIES

 

1. The Federal Government

Also our government is trying to do something for families with the courage for having children. The measurements are partially on the way and certain suggestions which have been made are being tested right now.

The problem consists in the fact that both large parties are going strategically into different directions: the CDU, especially the CSU have their eyes on the numerical largest group of normal families and therefore want to strengthen their existence; the SPD has its sight on the so-called alternative families, who – according to their tradition – are depending on the help from outside more then normal families do and therefore wants more help from the state up to the stately control of family policy.

Alongside tax benefits per child, child benefits, and in some states even the parental leave of the state the toughest discussions within this legislative period were due to Ursula von der Leyen, the CDU Family Minister, who adopted an unimplemented SPD-plan of the Schröder government and presented it as her own idea – namely the establishment of day care places for children below the age of three. As a result the SPD was baffled and the SPD annoyed.

 

 

 

The €4 billion government grant were intended to increase the number of day care centres in 2013 to 750 000 for mothers to be able to go back to work as soon as possible after delivery. Day cares in their original form should become a stately regulated education of of toddlers just as it was the case in the former GDR. Children of migrant parents were the main focus of politicians because without regulations from above would go to school without knowing any word of German as well as children of socially deprived families. The CSU disagreed vehemently with the compulsory programme as a state intervention within families by pointing toward the basic law which says in §6(2): ‚The care and education of children are the natural right and the highest duty of parents and is guarded by the states community.' And §3 regulates its meaning: ‚Children can only be separated from their parents against their will, if there is any reason which requires a legal intervention, when those acting as legal guardian fail to fulfil their duty or when children are in danger of being deprived.' Thus the so-called ‚child-care-expansion-law' is still in need of change. Until now this law only regulated the financing of day cares but it does not say anything about the possibilities and its corresponding financial substitute for home education. The suggestion of the CSU: €150 nursing money. An other discussion was raised by Miss von der Leyen with her suggestion of a child credit for parents which should be a 75% substitute for 12 month of to dates salary, if one of the parents stops going to work. A further two month would be paid if the other partner – usually the husband – would also stop working for this time. This child credit for parents for 12+2 months substitutes the previous nursing money, which was paid for 24 months.

Both laws are related with each other in order to allow mothers to return to work as soon as possible and place their toddlers in day care centres. It is obvious that economy and not the well being of the child is pushed through here.

 

2. The Family Atlas

In 2005, Prognos the research institute for economy in cooperation with the family ministry and the ZEIT magazin presented a mapp of Germany with several colours showing eight different categories representing areas with the best living possibilites for families.

This attempt is mentioned her because it is intresting to see the questions addressed to this families respectively the regions for the test and it weren't at all mainly day care nurseries. The questions pointed to:

  1. the general demographic development, that means birth rates but also moves of families into this region or out of it:
  2. Care infrastructure: Day care nurseries, playgroups, schools;
  3. The situation on the labour market and educational opportunities;
  4. Safety (criminality, child accidents) and prosperity;
  5. The question regarding reciprocal arrangement of family and job through possible flexible part-time work.

The Result:

•  The labour market situation is the main factor for families. In regions with low unemployment figures like Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bayern and Hesse the birth rate and the number of children within the population is above-average.

•  42 districts and smaller cities – almost all of them in the South of Germany – have the highest number of children within the population, which seems to be mainly due to the traditional view of families'. The father as the family feeder and the mother at home with the kids.

•  Interesting is also the reference to the religious connection. For 92 districts in the North and in the West of old Germany it means first: sufficient work, low criminality, almost no day care facilities but then: “The Catholic Cloppenburg in Lower Saxony has the highest birth rate per woman with 1.90 children. From the pure population political point of view those regions which consistently follow the traditional family image have done well in the test. And this seems to have something to do with belief and religion – even in the Lutheran South of Germany.

Summary

Wherever secure jobs, normal family structure and Christian belief are coming together, families are doing well, they have a living perspective and therefore also a higher number of new born children.

Where there is no job and no faith, there is also no perspective, no hope, families get broken and the birth rate decreases.

Although, in places with jobs but a strong secularism like for example in Berlin or Hamburg, many young people move to these cities, and they do have children but the number of children per family remains below-average (1.40) and with 47% in Berlin the ‘alternative' family form figure is the highest in Germany.

The Belief

The Institute for German Economy (Köln) recently showed that: Whoever prays several times a week has 1.9 children on average. Non-prayer have 1.3 children and the difference between frequent and seldom church goers is similar.

In Christian communities we frequently find the normal family from with children. This is linked with the fact that Christians try to establish healthy, strong relationships, they are not cheating on their partner and therefore have a sexually fulfilled life. They are involved in a social network (Church), which is also including their children and offering them role models in Christian education and values for their life.

Christian communities have to offer people living in alternative forms of life a home, consciously. Because these people really need it.

 

3. The German Lutheran Alliance

Hartmut Steeb , Secretary-General of DEA and appointed family politician recently presented a project at the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation on the theme: „ How to continue family policy? Corrections are necessary.“

He summarizes the corrections at the end of his analysis and has 8 suggestions:

•  The profession of being a mother
It is not about ‘compatibility of family and profession' but about acknowledging the mothers effort within family and profession. Therefore it also isn't about ‚returning to work' but switching inner-domestic and outer-domestic professions. A change is needed within the self-image of mothers and society.

•  Maternity protection as an immediate measure. Steeb is of the opinion that a maternity protection of 6 week before delivery would be sufficient basically. But it still remains a theme for discussions to start the maternity protection with the medically stipulated pregnancy especially for mothers delivering their first child in order to grant them enough lead time for childbirth preparation courses and their profession as mothers. (Basic Law §6 (3)).

•  Family right to vote
Women with more children have no lobby. Their democratic right to vote would increase however, if they are allowed to vote for each one of the children.

•  The abolition of abortion financing. If a man begets a child and the child is born he is liable for support for many years. If he defences himself forcefully against the woman, the child is being aborted at the expenses of the generality. This is not possible.

•  The Child Benefit
Steeb pleads for calculating realistic contributions to be paid out per child directly.
He suggests €350 immediately after the stipulated pregnancy because costs are incurred even before pregnancy. The contribution of the state is justifiable because the general public will profit in future from the brought up children.

•  Marriage Support
Due to all known advantages of a stable family the state should meanwhile be interested in marriages as a binding fidelity community. Steeb suggests a stately marriage gift of 1000, -EUR per Person. Above all it would be good to offer marriage courses.

•  Family Salary
Whoever chooses to become a housewife and mother respectively a houseman and father should no longer be disadvantaged socially in working life and materially when growing old. It is unfair socially that everybody can profit by the fruits of bringing up children although most people do not contribute to the costs of the up growing generation. Therefore Steeb suggests to pay families 600,- EUR for the first two children and €300 for each of the following children. The 5 th family report of the Federal Government has already worked out in 1994 that the up bringing of a child up to the age of 18 covers the whole expenditure of 100 000 DM.

•  Free of charge transportation for children and young people in public transport means.

 

4. The AUF-Party

The AUF-Party established at the end of January last year is the ‘party for labour, environment and family. Christians for Germany ' – agrees in many points with Steeb's opinion. If the party steps over the 5%-obstacle in 2009, the family political ideas of Steeb could be inserted within the federal policy.

Regarding education benefit the basic programme says (Steeb: „family salary“): „Thus the acknowledgement of the up bringing effort is promoted and in this context AUF also expects the acknowledgement of the ‘mother' respectively ‘father' profession. The claim on education benefit is linked with the childbirth preparation course and the attendance of a continuous training respectively further education offered by free institutions.” A thought which will lead to many discussions regarding “whether” and “how”.

Steeb has also a different opinion regarding the size of the salary and the ‘being disconnected' from the number of children but ‘in its size the education benefit is orientated towards the average gross salary of employees. It is subject to social contributions and taxes. Thus, it is possible to set up a pension during education and the case of illness is being safeguarded. This policy is also for the social safeguard of single parents and their children.”

 

 

 

 

PRAYER

 

Leitmotiv in Giving Thanks and Intercession:

„Think about what the Almighty One can do,

who is treating you with love – Germany ”.

 

Target: for children to be born in Germany

Due to the analysis we have 6 prayer themes: Labour, family structures, belief, integration, policy and society and certain regions.

 

1. Labour

•  Thanks for the stable upswing

•  Thanks for full-time and part-time jobs

•  Blessings upon your company

•  good working atmosphere, no mobbing

•  Family friendly companies

•  apprenticeships

•  Maintenance of even simple jobs in Germany

•  Perspectiveless secondary modern school pupils especially for school drop-outs .

 

2. Family structures

•  Thanks for God's good orders for marriage and family and for his mercy, wherever it wasn't possible to live that way.

•  Prayer for right partnerships.

•  Prayer for an increasing number of couples who dare to get married (promise of faithfulness).

•  Offer of couple courses and marriage guidance. The willingness of men to cooperate.

•  New view of the beauty and dignity of being a mother; willingness of young woman to invest into new life.

•  New view sense for young men regarding dignity and for them to take responsibility for a woman and children.

•  Prayer for a sexual behaviour reform before, in and outside of marriage (Purity and faithfulness). For men to be set free from pronography.

•  Reducement of abortion through new child supporting laws.

•  Protection of the 0-3 year old children against being taken from their mothers.

•  To reverse the polarity of the ‘do it with' advertisement and Medias toward the depiciton of marriage and faithfulness values, of family and security.

 

3. Belief

•  In March 2006 Ursula von der Leyen pronounced herself for parents praying with their kids. Such ‘rituals' are helpful in everyday life and are strengthening the own identity. She said that the ‘Christian basic trust makes it easier to give birth to a child”. Thanks for such words.

•  Faith courses, evangelisation, church growth, i.e. revival of the people

•  Testimonies in life and word at the place of work; prayer meetings in companies, authorities, schools, Universities , i.e. transformation of the society.

•  Believing Christians in key positions in politics, economy, authorities, the media.

•  Unity and cooperation between churches and Christians in the city.

•  New joy for God's orders in marriage and family.

 

4. Integration

•  Integration has to start early. This is one of the motives to make day care nurseries compulsory for everybody.

•  Protection of German society against frustrated young people who haven't been integrated (migrants, Germans from Russia , socially underprivileged youngsters). Helpful support.

 

5. Policy and Society

•  Turn from the economically oriented policy towards a family oriented policy (‘pradigm shift').

•  Protection and turning from a stately oriented ideological policy towards a family oriented and realistic policy.

•  A change in the mentality of the society towards primordial values of faithfulness in marriage-partnership, enhancement of motherhood and fatherhood, joy to have children and the end of all devaluation.

 

6. Regions

•  Thanks for the large areas in our country in which families can prosper.

•  Thanks for the vital force in Hamburg and Berlin and intercession for stable families.

•  Intercession for marriages and families in the Eastern Federal States especially for Mecklenbrug-West Pomerania; plea for jobs and the spreading of the gospel.

 

 

 

Ortwin Schweitzer

 

Sources:

The Fischer World Almanac 2007, Figures, Data, Facts

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 11.9.07

Frankfurter Rundschau 12.1.05

Hamburger Abendblatt 21.1.05

Rheinischer Merkur Nr. 27, 2004; 2.9.2004

Federal Office for Statistics, various tables and press conferences 28.11.2007 regarding Microcensus 2006

Stuttgarter Nachrichten 3.5.2005

Stuttgarter Zeitung 27.2.02; 19/05/2002 12/01/2005 17/01/2005 21/01/2005 09/01/2008

DIE ZEIT 20/01/2005; Signs of time 10/2007

Deutschlandradio 6.2.05; Political Feuilleton, Ulrich Deupmann, Future Theme no. 1 children

Jesus.de 27.9; 10:10:00 ; 15:10:00 ; 16/10/2007

smd transparent 2, 2007, Courage for families

Hartmut Steeb, How to continue family policy? Corrections are neccessary. Conferences of the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation

Rolf-Alexander Thieke, Vital question regarding Germany 's future.