Immigration Nation

Germany's Anti-Aging Remedy

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Social spending in Germany has reached record levels under German Chancellor Angela Merkel and is set to top €1 trillion in 2021, but the country can afford it, thanks to massive immigration.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Around 1.5 million men and 1.1 million women have registered for state health insurance since 2013.
    • The number of people paying into old age pension holding foreign passports has raised by 1.7 million, or about 53 percent, between 2008 and 2015.
    • In 2016, benefits paid per insured were lower than expected and welfare state revenues increased by 5.6 percent per insured, the most it has in decades.
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    Audio

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Getting carded. Source: DPA/Ralf Hirschberger

Germany’s population problem has given politicians and economists plenty of gray hairs. But instead of German women having more babies, society has received a youthful injection thanks to immigration. 

According to new federal statistics, the average age of those covered by state health insurance is no longer increasing. A weight has been lifted off the welfare state – there is even a chance that its coffers might start to fill again.

Since 2013, 1.5 million men and 1.1 million women have registered for state health insurance, according to the federal association responsible. Most are under 30 years old, and the system is making a healthy profit as premium contributions tend to outstrip claims.

The companies are also profiting from immigrants – and Germany saw numbers increase significantly after refugees fled war and poverty in the Middle East and North Africa. Immigrants claim much less on their health insurance than Germans across all age groups, even older people who on average cost the state 40 percent less than Germans do. “It’s primarily the healthy ones who come here,” said Doris Pfeiffer, who heads the association of Germany’s 113 health insurance agencies.

Without young immigrants, the demographic of old age pension contributors would be far older. The number of people who hold foreign passports and pay into the system increased by 1.7 million, or 53 percent, between 2008 and 2015.

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