Census in Germany on May 15: what you need to know

Berlin.
35 years ago, census protests were huge. Only a few are upset this time. What you should know about the census.

1987. Census. An entire nation rebels against the “transparent citizen” in a “surveillance state”. Many people try it revolt. Protests and demonstrations shake the republic. It is still counted.

According to EU guidelines, Germany was supposed to count its people again in 2021. Member states are now obliged to do so every ten years. But the pandemic prevented it. The so-called census now starts with one year Delay – on May 15th. There are hardly any protests today.

“The census determines precise population figures,” explains Stefan Dittrich, project leader of the Federal Statistical Office. It would also be determined population structure as well as the living and working situation of residents in Germany. The findings are important to federal, state and local politics in many ways. They form the basis for planning, such as infrastructure: kindergartens, schools, roads. However, it will take some time before they know exactly how many people live in each community. “Our stated goal is to publish the results in November 2023,” says Dittrich.

2022 Census: around 30 million people will be interviewed

The study is divided into several blocks. The authorities evaluate their recorded population data. These are, for example, those of registration offices or tax offices, but also suppliers and disposal companies. But this information alone is not enough for a realistic picture. Because some citizens may not have registered at their new place of residence. The data must therefore sources of error be cleaned up.


For a reliable database from mid-May around 30 million people will be interviewed. 10.2 million families are screened and written. You must provide information on your living conditions. Some people are also asked about education and employment. In addition, 300,000 dormitory residents will receive a letter. Residents of retirement or nursing homes should also provide information. However, the home lines carry the information here.


The largest group of respondents is made up of the approximately 23 million owners of apartments or houses. They have to provide information on approximately 19 million residential buildings with 41 million apartments. Their names will be deleted at the end of the survey. One transfer to third parties, such as the tax office, is prohibited by law. Read also:How many inhabitants does Germany actually have?

The expert expects only a few refusals

About 100,000 volunteers do the interviews. They always announce themselves by post, never by telephone. Only in exceptions then they actually show up at the front door. Then they must identify themselves with an official census document, which is only valid together with an official photo ID.

You don’t have to let census interviewers into the apartment. Respondents can conduct the longest interview at the door or online. You will receive your personal online login data for this. In turn, citizens are obliged to respond. Those who refuse must deal with something not yet specified Well to calculate. An amount of 200 or 300 euros is under discussion.

Michael Fürnrohr, on the other hand, head of the census project at the Bavarian State Statistical Office, has only a small part rejecting. In the last census in 2011, he was in the alcohol range, he says.

There were some surprises in 2011

Even at that time the census showed a large deviation from the assumed population numbers for some towns and communities. The situation in Berlin was particularly dramatic. The capital lost around 5.2 per cent, or almost 180,000 inhabitants, followed directly by Hamburg with a Lost by 4.6 per cent and therefore approximately 83,000 inhabitants. By comparison, these losses were well above the national average, which showed less than 1.8%.

The number of people living in Germany was also truly amazing Foreign: Nearly 15 percent or 1.1 million fewer foreigners were living in the Federal Republic at the time than assumed. The deviations were particularly significant in North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria. Equally astonishing was the high percentage of people of German nationality who have a migration background, i.e. around nine million people, which corresponded to a proportion of 12.3% of all Germans.

Likewise great surprises this time don’t expect census managers, as the distance from the last census is much shorter than the last time. The latest survey dates back to 24 years ago.

Funds and salaries: a lot depends on the census

There are good reasons why population statistics can cause long faces here and there. Because many important things depend on numbers decisions. For example, the financial equalization of the Länder is based on the number of inhabitants. If a city suddenly has far fewer residents than expected, there is less money on the pot.

In the case of small municipalities, a variance in the number of inhabitants is quickly felt in the tax revenue. And the mayors also await the results with mixed feelings: their salary also depends on the number of inhabitants.

This article first appeared on abendblatt.de.


Other items from this category can be found here: Life


Leave a Comment