SWR 2, 25 Apr. 2005, 30 min.
Why is the population shrinking more severely in some European countries than in others? Why are France and Sweden successfully managing to convince young families to have children? Until most recently, German politicians frowned upon any form of active population policy as being all too reminiscent of the “mother cult” propagated by the Nazis. Now the consequences are all too obvious: In eastern Germany, entire blocks of high-rise dwellings are being torn down due to a lack of people to occupy them. In the Ruhr region to the west, the proportion of foreigners is on the rise because their fertility rate is higher. What’s more, the increase in the number of elderly people is threatening to turn the social welfare systems upside down: In 30 years at the latest, each gainfully employed person will have one existing pensioner to provide for. Communities and companies are working on problem-solving approaches in order to escape from this demographic downwards spiral.
Manuscript and audio