Looking at the global picture, the worlds overall population is facing a projected growth of up to a total of 9,1 billion inhabitants by the year 2050. More than half of the overall growth will stem from India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Congo, Bangladesh, Uganda, the USA, Ethiopia and China combined. Within Europe the situation is very different – the overall population is expected to decrease by 2,1% between 2005 and 2050. Focussing on the age ranges within this development the group of over 80 year olds will grow by 180% whilst those of up to 39 years decrease especially rapid with a rate of -25,8%.[1.] All these developments and the preceding events can be understood using the model of demographic change.[2.] – The assumptions:

  • Nearly constant birth rate at 1.4 children per woman
  • Annual net migration: + 100 000 person
  • Life expectancy of newborn children in 2060: 85.0 years for boys and 89.2 years for girls,
Population Projection for Germany -> 2050

Wintermanm, Dr. O., 2006. Demografischer Wandel in Deutschland: Die demografische Herausforderung im internationalen Vergleich. {online} Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung {Accessed 29 November 2011} [1.]

For more information on this theory please see Appendix 5[/ref]

Although the average birth rate of 1.4 children per woman in Germany is nearly European standard, the actual demographic ageing process is one of the most drastically developing. As a result multiple commissions and study groups have been initiated over the past decade. Their main purposes are the analysis of the development, its future projections and creating strategies for the successful compensation.

Displaying such a dramatic development and the struggle within politics and society to regulate the consequences – Germany is a great example to stress the importance of user oriented design. Within a rapidly ageing society services and products have to be adapted to the needs of those elderly users previously often disregarded.

This is where the understanding and implementation of inclusive design becomes essential and should form a core part in every designer’s set of abilities and considerations.

Demographic transition in Germany

The following graphs visualise the data summarised for the 12th coordinated population projection for Germany. They are published in numerous reports and clearly show the transition in population structure according to age and gender over the projected period of time until the year 2060. A drastic shift toward an increasingly older society can be observed

12th Coordinated Population ProjectionStatistisches Bundesamt, 2009. 12th coordinated Population Projection. {online} {Accessed 29 October 2011} [2.]