The number of births in Germany fell to a record post-war low last year despite government investment of billions of euros on incentives to counter the country's shrinking population.
Germany has a population of 82 million but the low birth rates mean average ages are rising, hampering the development of Europe's largest economy. The tide of immigration that fed the post world war two economic expansion has also now been reversed with new immigration controls.
The Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden reported that there were 665,126 children born in 2009, down from 682,514 in 2008. The annual birth rate has fallen by more than 100,000 a year in the last decade from 770,774 births registered in 1999.
An official at the statistics office said the 2009 figure was the lowest number of births in Germany since 1945, when 520,000 children were born.
Germany has one of the lowest birth rates in Europe.
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