As Europe’s largest economy and second most populous nation (after Russia), Germany is a key member of the continent’s economic, political, and defense organizations. European power struggles immersed Germany in two devastating World Wars in the first half of the 20th century and left the country occupied by the victorious Allied powers of the US, UK, France, and the Soviet Union in 1945.

With the advent of the Cold War, two German states were formed in 1949: the western Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the eastern German Democratic Republic (GDR). The democratic FRG embedded itself in key Western economic and security organizations, the EC, which became the EU, and NATO, while the communist GDR was on the front line of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact.

The decline of the USSR and the end of the Cold War allowed for German unification in 1990. Since then, Germany has expended considerable funds to bring Eastern productivity and wages up to Western standards. In January 1999, Germany and 10 other EU countries introduced a common European exchange currency, the euro.

German Flag

German Flag


Central Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, between the Netherlands and Poland, south of Denmark

Geographic coordinates:
51 00 N, 9 00 E

Map references:


total: 357,022 sq km
country comparison to the world: 63
land: 348,672 sq km
water: 8,350 sq km

Area – comparative:
Area comparison map:

Land boundaries:
total: 3,790 km
border countries: Austria 784 km, Belgium 167 km, Czech Republic 815 km, Denmark 68 km, France 451 km, Luxembourg 138 km, Netherlands 577 km, Poland 456 km, Switzerland 334 km

2,389 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation


temperate and marine; cool, cloudy, wet winters and summers; occasional warm mountain (foehn) wind

lowlands in north, uplands in center, Bavarian Alps in south

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Neuendorf bei Wilster -3.54 m
highest point: Zugspitze 2,963 m

Natural resources:
coal, lignite, natural gas, iron ore, copper, nickel, uranium, potash, salt, construction materials, timber, arable land

Land use:
arable land: 33.25%
permanent crops: 0.56%
other: 66.19% (2011)

Irrigated land:
5,157 sq km (2006)

Total renewable water resources:
154 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 32.3 cu km/yr (16%/84%/0%)
per capita: 391.4 cu m/yr (2007)

Natural hazards:

Environment – current issues:
emissions from coal-burning utilities and industries contribute to air pollution; acid rain, resulting from sulfur dioxide emissions, is damaging forests; pollution in the Baltic Sea from raw sewage and industrial effluents from rivers in eastern Germany; hazardous waste disposal; government established a mechanism for ending the use of nuclear power over the next 15 years; government working to meet EU commitment to identify nature preservation areas in line with the EU’s Flora, Fauna, and Habitat directive

Environment – international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography – note:
strategic location on North European Plain and along the entrance to the Baltic Sea

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People & Society

noun: German(s)
adjective: German

Ethnic groups:
German 91.5%, Turkish 2.4%, other 6.1% (made up largely of Greek, Italian, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish)

German (official)
note: Lower Sorbian, North Frisian, Sater Frisian, and Upper Sorbian are recognized as regional languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages

Protestant 34%, Roman Catholic 34%, Muslim 3.7%, unaffiliated or other 28.3%

80,996,685 (July 2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 18

Age structure:
0-14 years: 13% (male 5,386,525/female 5,107,336)
15-24 years: 10.6% (male 4,367,713/female 4,188,566)
25-54 years: 41.7% (male 17,116,346/female 16,664,995)
55-64 years: 21.1% (male 5,463,221/female 5,574,166)
65 years and over: 20.9% (male 7,468,552/female 9,659,265) (2014 est.)
population pyramid:

Dependency ratios:
total dependency ratio: 52.1 %
youth dependency ratio: 19.8 %
elderly dependency ratio: 32.3 %
potential support ratio: 3.1 (2014 est.)

Median age:
total: 46.1 years
male: 45.1 years
female: 47.2 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate:
-0.18% (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 212

Birth rate:
8.42 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 219

Death rate:
11.29 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31

Net migration rate:
1.06 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 60

urban population: 73.9% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: -0.03% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas – population:
BERLIN (capital) 3.462 million; Hamburg 1.796 million; Munich 1.364 million; Cologne 1.006 million (2011)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Mother’s mean age at first birth:
29.2 (2012 est.)

Maternal mortality rate:
7 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
country comparison to the world: 165

Infant mortality rate:
total: 3.46 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 209
male: 3.75 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.14 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 80.44 years
country comparison to the world: 28
male: 78.15 years
female: 82.86 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate:
1.43 children born/woman (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 203

Contraceptive prevalence rate:
note: percent of women aged 18-49 (2005)

Health expenditures:
11.1% of GDP (2011)
country comparison to the world: 14

Physicians density:
3.69 physicians/1,000 population (2010)

Hospital bed density:
8.3 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2011 est.)

Sanitation facility access:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2011 est.)

HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138

HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS:
67,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 56

HIV/AIDS – deaths:
fewer than 1,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79

Obesity – adult prevalence rate:
25.1% (2008)
country comparison to the world: 59

Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
1.1% (2006)
country comparison to the world: 133

Education expenditures:
5.1% of GDP (2010)
country comparison to the world: 74

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 16 years
male: 16 years
female: 16 years (2011)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
total: 8.1%
country comparison to the world: 121
male: 8.8%
female: 7.4% (2012)

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Country name:
conventional long form: Federal Republic of Germany
conventional short form: Germany
local long form: Bundesrepublik Deutschland
local short form: Deutschland
former: German Empire, German Republic, German Reich

Government type:
federal republic

name: Berlin
geographic coordinates: 52 31 N, 13 24 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Administrative divisions:
16 states (Laender, singular – Land); Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bayern (Bavaria), Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hessen (Hesse), Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania), Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony), Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhine-Westphalia), Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate), Saarland, Sachsen (Saxony), Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony-Anhalt), Schleswig-Holstein, Thueringen (Thuringia); note – Bayern, Sachsen, and Thueringen refer to themselves as free states (Freistaaten, singular – Freistaat)

18 January 1871 (establishment of the German Empire); divided into four zones of occupation (UK, US, USSR, and France) in 1945 following World War II; Federal Republic of Germany (FRG or West Germany) proclaimed on 23 May 1949 and included the former UK, US, and French zones; German Democratic Republic (GDR or East Germany) proclaimed on 7 October 1949 and included the former USSR zone; West Germany and East Germany unified on 3 October 1990; all four powers formally relinquished rights on 15 March 1991; notable earlier dates: 10 August 843 (Eastern Francia established from the division of the Carolingian Empire); 2 February 962 (crowning of OTTO I, recognized as the first Holy Roman Emperor)

National holiday:
Unity Day, 3 October (1990)

previous 1919 (Weimar Constitution); latest drafted 10 to 23 August 1948, approved 12 May 1949, promulgated 23 May 1949, entered into force 24 May 1949; amended many times, last in 2012 (2012)

Legal system:
civil law system

International law organization participation:
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Joachim GAUCK (since 23 March 2012)
head of government: Chancellor Angela MERKEL (since 22 November 2005)
cabinet: Cabinet or Bundesminister (Federal Ministers) appointed by the president on the recommendation of the chancellor
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: president elected for a five-year term (eligible for a second term) by a Federal Convention, including all members of the Federal Parliament (Bundestag) and an equal number of delegates elected by the state parliaments; election last held on 19 February 2012 (next to be held by June 2017); chancellor elected by an absolute majority of the Federal Parliament for a four-year term; Federal Parliament vote for Chancellor last held on 17 December 2013 (next to be held after the September 2017 elections)
election results: Joachim GAUCK elected president; received 991 votes of the Federal Convention against 126 for Beate KLARSFELD and 3 for Olaf ROSE; Angela MERKEL reelected chancellor; vote by Federal Parliament 462 to 150 with four abstentions

Legislative branch:
bicameral legislature consists of the Federal Council or Bundesrat (69 votes; state governments sit in the Council; each has three to six votes in proportion to population and is required to vote as a block) and the Federal Parliament or Bundestag (630 seats; members elected by popular vote for a four-year term under a system of personalized proportional representation; a party must win 5% of the national vote or three direct mandates to gain proportional representation and caucus recognition)
elections: Bundestag – last held on 22 September 2013 (next to be held no later than autumn 2017); most all postwar German governments have been coalitions; note – there are no elections for the Bundesrat; composition is determined by the composition of the state-level governments; the composition of the Bundesrat has the potential to change any time one of the 16 states holds an election
election results: Bundestag – percent of vote by party – CDU/CSU 41.5%, SPD 25.7%, Left 8.6%, Greens 8.4%, FDP 4.8%, other 10.9%; seats by party – CDU/CSU 311, SPD 193, Left 64, Greens 63

Judicial branch:
highest court(s): Federal Court of Justice (court consists of 127 judges including the court president, vice-presidents, presiding judges, and other judges, and organized into 25 Senates subdivided into 12 civil panels, 5 criminal panels, and 8 special panels; Federal Constitutional Court or Bundesverfassungsgericht (consists of 2 Senates each subdivided into 3 chambers, each with a chairman and 8 members)
judge selection and term of office: Federal Court of Justice judges selected by the Judges Election Committee, which consists of the Secretaries of Justice from each of the 16 federated States and 16 members appointed by the Federal Parliament; judges appointed by the president of Germany; judges serve until mandatory retirement at age 65; Federal Constitutional Court judges – one-half elected by the House of Representatives and one-half by the Senate; judges appointed for 12-year terms with mandatory retirement at age 68
subordinate courts: Federal Administrative Court; Federal Finance Court; Federal Labor Court; Federal Social Court; each of the 16 German states or Land has its own constitutional court and a hierarchy of ordinary (civil, criminal, family) and specialized (administrative, finance, labor, social) courts

Political parties and leaders:
Alliance ’90/Greens [Cem OEZDEMIR and Simone PETER]
Christian Democratic Union or CDU [Angela MERKEL]
Christian Social Union or CSU [Horst SEEHOFER]
Free Democratic Party or FDP [Christian LINDNER]
Left Party or Die Linke [Katia KIPPING and Bernd RIEXINGER]
Social Democratic Party or SPD [Sigmar GABRIEL]

Political pressure groups and leaders:
business associations and employers’ organizations
trade unions; religious, immigrant, expellee, and veterans groups

International organization participation:
ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS, CD, CDB, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EITI (implementing country), EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-20, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), SICA (observer), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Hans Peter WITTIG (since 21 May 2014)
chancery: 2300 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20037
telephone: [1] (202) 298-4000
FAX: [1] (202) 298-4261
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador John B. EMERSON (since 7 August 2013)
embassy: Pariser Platz 2, 10117 Berlin
mailing address: Unit 5090, Box 1000, DPO AE09265
telephone: [49] (30) 48305-0
FAX: [49] (30) 8305-1215
consulate(s) general: Duesseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Leipzig, Munich

Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of black (top), red, and gold; these colors have played an important role in German history and can be traced back to the medieval banner of the Holy Roman Emperor – a black eagle with red claws and beak on a gold field

National symbol(s):
golden eagle

National anthem:
name: “Das Lied der Deutschen” (Song of the Germans)

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Economy – overview:
The German economy – the fifth largest economy in the world in PPP terms and Europe’s largest – is a leading exporter of machinery, vehicles, chemicals, and household equipment and benefits from a highly skilled labor force.

Like its Western European neighbors, Germany faces significant demographic challenges to sustained long-term growth. Low fertility rates and declining net immigration are increasing pressure on the country’s social welfare system and necessitate structural reforms. Reforms launched by the government of Chancellor Gerhard SCHROEDER (1998-2005), deemed necessary to address chronically high unemployment and low average growth, has contributed to strong growth and falling unemployment. These advances, as well as a government subsidized, reduced working hour scheme, help explain the relatively modest increase in unemployment during the 2008-09 recession – the deepest since World War II – and its decrease to 5.3% in 2013. The new German government introduced a minimum wage of $11 per hour to take effect in 2015.

Stimulus and stabilization efforts initiated in 2008 and 2009 and tax cuts introduced in Chancellor Angela MERKEL’s second term increased Germany’s total budget deficit – including federal, state, and municipal – to 4.1% in 2010, but slower spending and higher tax revenues reduced the deficit to 0.8% in 2011 and in 2012 Germany reached a budget surplus of 0.1%. A constitutional amendment approved in 2009 limits the federal government to structural deficits of no more than 0.35% of GDP per annum as of 2016 though the target was already reached in 2012. Following the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Chancellor Angela MERKEL announced in May 2011 that eight of the country’s 17 nuclear reactors would be shut down immediately and the remaining plants would close by 2022. Germany hopes to replace nuclear power with renewable energy. Before the shutdown of the eight reactors, Germany relied on nuclear power for 23% of its electricity generating capacity and 46% of its base-load electricity production.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$3.227 trillion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
$3.211 trillion (2012 est.)
$3.182 trillion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$3.593 trillion (2013 est.)

GDP – real growth rate:
0.5% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 184
0.9% (2012 est.)
3.4% (2011 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP):
$39,500 (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
$39,200 (2012 est.)
$38,900 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

Gross national saving:
24.7% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 50
24.3% of GDP (2012 est.)
24.4% of GDP (2011 est.)

GDP – composition, by end use:
household consumption: 57.6%
government consumption: 19.4%
investment in fixed capital: 17.5%
investment in inventories: 0.1%
exports of goods and services: 49.5%
imports of goods and services: -44.1%
(2013 est.)

GDP – composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 0.8%
industry: 30.1%
services: 69%
(2013 est.)

Agriculture – products:
potatoes, wheat, barley, sugar beets, fruit, cabbages; milk products; cattle, pigs, poultry

among the world’s largest and most technologically advanced producers of iron, steel, coal, cement, chemicals, machinery, vehicles, machine tools, electronics, automobiles, food and beverages, shipbuilding, textiles

Industrial production growth rate:
-0.3% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 167

Labor force:
44.2 million (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 15

Labor force – by occupation:
agriculture: 1.6%
industry: 24.6%
services: 73.8%

Unemployment rate:
5.3% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 52
5.5% (2012 est.)

Population below poverty line:
15.5% (2010 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3.6%
highest 10%: 24% (2000)

Distribution of family income – Gini index:
27 (2006)
country comparison to the world: 130
30 (1994)

revenues: $1.626 trillion
expenditures: $1.624 trillion (2013 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:
45.3% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 20

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
0.1% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 41

Public debt:
79.9% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26
81% of GDP (2012 est.)
note: general government gross debt is defined in the Maastricht Treaty as consolidated general government gross debt at nominal value, outstanding at the end of the year in the following categories of government liabilities (as defined in ESA95): currency and deposits (AF.2), securities other than shares excluding financial derivatives (AF.3, excluding AF.34), and loans (AF.4); the general government sector comprises the sub-sectors of central government, state government, local government and social security funds; the series are presented as a percentage of GDP and in millions of euro; GDP used as a denominator is the gross domestic product at current market prices; data expressed in national currency are converted into euro using end-of-year exchange rates provided by the European Central Bank

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1.6% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 44
2.1% (2012 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
0.75% (31 December 2013)
country comparison to the world: 122
1.5% (31 December 2010)
note: this is the European Central Bank’s rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
2.8% (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 168
3.07% (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of narrow money:
$2.158 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 5
$2.025 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
note: see entry for the European Union for money supply in the euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 17 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating within their own borders

Stock of broad money:
$4.551 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 5
$4.342 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$4.457 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 5
$4.277 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$1.486 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
$1.184 trillion (31 December 2011)
$1.43 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)

Current account balance:
$257.1 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1
$238.5 billion (2012 est.)

$1.493 trillion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4
$1.46 trillion (2012 est.)

Exports – commodities:
motor vehicles, machinery, chemicals, computer and electronic products, electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals, metals, transport equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, rubber and plastic products

Exports – partners:
France 9.21%, United States 7.85%, United Kingdom 6.53%, Netherlands 6.33%, China 5.91%, Italy 5.05%, Austria 5.03%, Switzerland 4.3%, Belgium 4.04% (2013 est.)

$1.233 trillion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4
$1.222 trillion (2012 est.)

Imports – commodities:
machinery, data processing equipment, vehicles, chemicals, oil and gas, metals, electric equipment, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, agricultural products

Imports – partners:
Netherlands 12.88%, France 7.61%, China 6.25%, Belgium 6.13%, Italy 5.31%, United Kingdom 4.61%, Austria 4.33%, United States 4.19%, Switzerland 4.3%, Austria 4.1%, Poland 4% (2013 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$248.9 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13
$238.9 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Debt – external:
$5.717 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4
$5.338 trillion (31 December 2011)

Stock of direct foreign investment – at home:
$1.335 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 5
$1.307 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment – abroad:
$1.871 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 3
$1.788 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)

Exchange rates:
euros (EUR) per US dollar –
0.7634 (2013 est.)
0.7752 (2012 est.)
0.755 (2010 est.)
0.7198 (2009 est.)
0.6827 (2008 est.)

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