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Demographics and Society

Demographics and Society

Demographic change, scientific and technological progress, and changing lifestyles have a profound effect on society. More people are staying healthy into old age, and the birth rate remains low. Scientific expertise is helping to understand and find solutions to the social challenges presented by demographic change in Germany.

Assessing the implications of new scientific findings

Research into demographic change raises questions that affect society as a whole, as well as each individual. Many people find themselves unable to reconcile their chosen lifestyle or career with a desire to have children. People are also deciding to have children later in life, which has medical and biological consequences. When individual desires and social reality do not match up, it becomes even more important to investigate the effects that these new natural, social and cultural insights into demographic change might have on individuals and society.

Identifying research needs

Alongside fertility and ageing, there are many other questions relating to demographic change that require answers. These questions affect all age groups: How can a society create a favourable environment for children? How do young people find their place in society? How should lifelong learning be organised? How can we make the best possible use of older employees’ knowledge and skills? Precisely defining these questions and finding answers to them requires cooperation between researchers from widely varying disciplines. Medicine, psychology, sociology and economics are just a few of the fields that are collaborating on these issues in working groups at the Leopoldina.

Encouraging debate among policymakers and the public

The issues surrounding demographic change are increasingly becoming a topic for political and public debate. The Leopoldina is also contributing to the discussion by collaborating with other scientific academies on projects investigating these issues. For example, the Academy Initiative on “Aging in Germany” was the largest interdisciplinary research project on the phenomenon of an ageing society in Germany to date. Another study being carried out in an academy initiative is “The Future with Children”, which will contribute to the debate currently taking place in Germany about fertility.



Dr. Stefanie Westermann

Scientific Officer, Department Science - Policy - Society

Phone 0345 - 47 239 - 871
Fax 0345 - 47 239 - 839
E-Mail stefanie.westermann @leopoldina.org