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East Germany Table of Contents

East Germany


In 1986 the estimated population was 16.7 million, or between one-fourth and one-third that of West Germany. In the years since the war, population has declined steadily, posing a serious problem for East German planners interested in balanced economic growth and social development. The population reached a peak of 19.1 million in 1948. This postwar increase resulted largely from the influx of Germans expelled from Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. After 1950, however, the population began to decline and, except for a small increase in the early 1960s (after the construction of the Berlin Wall), the country continued to register a negative growth rate. In 1950 the official census recorded a resident population of 18.3 million; by 1960 the number had dropped to 17.2 million; and by 1970 it had decreased to 17.1 million. Population levelled off in the late 1970s at around 16.7 million, reflecting a zero rate of growth.

Data as of July 1987