Country Listing

Germany Table of Contents



Size: 356,959 square kilometers.

Topography: Terrain rises from northern coastal lowlands to belt of central uplands, complex and varied in form. To south of uplands, a high plain suddenly rises to Alps in country's extreme south. Most important rivers: Rhine, flowing to north; Elbe, flowing to northwest; and Danube, flowing to southeast.

Climate: Cool, continental climate with abundant rainfall and long overcast season. Lower temperatures with considerable snowfall in east and south. Prone to rapid weather variations from merging of Gulf Stream and extreme northeastern climate conditions.


Population: 81,338,000 (July 1995 estimate) with growth rate of 0.26 percent (July 1995 estimate).

Ethnic Groups: 95.1 percent German, 2.3 percent Turkish, 1.7 percent Italian, 0.4 percent Greek, and 0.4 percent Polish; remainder mainly refugees from former Yugoslavia.

Languages: Standard German, with substantial differences in regional dialects. Three very small linguistic minorities, which speak Sorbian, Danish, or Frisian.

Religion: Protestants, mostly in Evangelical Church in Germany, 30 million; Roman Catholics, 28.2 million; Muslims, 2.5 million; free churches, 195,000; and Jews, 34,000.

Education and Literacy: 99 percent literacy rate in population over age fifteen (1991 estimate). Education compulsory until age eighteen. At age ten, after primary school (Grundschule), students attend one of five schools: short-course secondary school (Hauptschule); intermediate school (Realschule); high school (Gymnasium); comprehensive school (Gesamtschule); or a school for children with special educational needs (Sonder-schule). At about age fifteen, students choose among a variety of vocational, technical, and academic schools. Higher education consists of many kinds of technical colleges, advanced voca-tional schools, and universities.

Health and Welfare: About 90 percent of population covered by comprehensive compulsory insurance for sickness, accidents, disability, long-term care, and retirement. Most of remainder enrolled in voluntary insurance programs; the very poor are covered by state-financed welfare programs. Quality of medical care generally excellent. Comfortable pensions paid according to life-time earnings and indexed to meet cost-of-living increases. Wide variety of other social welfare benefits managed by both government and private agencies available to those in need. Life expectancy 76.6 years for total population (73.5 years for males and 79.9 years for females) (1995 estimates). Infant mortality rate 6.3 deaths per 1,000 live births (1995 estimate). Total fertility rate 1.5 children born per woman (1995 estimate).

Data as of August 1995