Germany has continually witnessed a decline in its birth rate over the last half of the 20th century and current forecasts are the current 82 million German population will decline to about 69 milion by 2006. The current birthrate is 1.43 children per woman, slightly up form 1.33 the year before, but distant from the necessary 2.1 number that ensures maintenance and growth in population. An economic problem that will arise unless there is a significant rise in population is support for the social security system which will lack people paying in during the coming decades. Uusula der Leyen, Family Minister, believes an important aspect of dealing with the demographic crisis in persuading women to have more children.
Under new legislation, the government will pay the parent who remains home with the child up to 67% of their current income with a maximum of $2,810 per month for up to a year. Another facet of the new program is tripling the number of day care centers in order to assist women who must work. Many conservatives support paying women to remain at home but object to day care centers as encouraging women not to remain with the child.
Ironically, as Germans have fewer babies, German society needs more immigrants.