Misleading statistics indicated that Germany’s birth rate was rising because of new, generous government polices. But the statistics were misleading. Despite lavish benefits, the German birth rate continues to drop. Der Spiegel reports

On Tuesday, though, the German Federal Statistical Office released preliminary figures for all of 2008, and the news is not pretty. Rather than the heralded rise in births, 2008 saw a 1.1 percent drop in the birthrate — or 8,000 fewer children for a country already worried about its growing demographic crisis.

Allan Carlsson has observed that it is not possible for a government to buy children. At best government policies can encourage people to have children earlier, but polices will not increase the number of children.

Sectors of Germany, right and left, want to encourage women to enter and to stay in the work force. The number of working-age Germans is dropping rapidly. Business wants a larger work force to keep down wage demands, and therefore wants women in the work force. Egalitarians who want men and women to have identical life-patterns therefore want women in the work force. But it is hard to have a replacement birthrate when women have the pressure of a career.

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