country profile - GERMANY
Background: As Europe's largest economy and second most populous nation, Germany is a key member of the continent's economic, political, and defense organizations. European power struggles immersed Germany in two devastating World Wars in the first half of the 20th century and left the country occupied by the victorious Allied powers of the US, UK, France, and the Soviet Union in 1945. With the advent of the Cold War, two German states were formed in 1949: the western Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the eastern German Democratic Republic (GDR). The democratic FRG embedded itself in key Western economic and security organizations, the EC, which became the EU, and NATO, while the Communist GDR was on the front line of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. The decline of the USSR and the end of the Cold War allowed for German unification in 1990. Since then, Germany has expended considerable funds to bring Eastern productivity and wages up to Western standards. In January 1999, Germany and 10 other EU countries introduced a common European exchange currency, the euro.
geography  
Location: Central Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, between the Netherlands and Poland, south of Denmark
Area: total: 357,021 sq km
land: 349,223 sq km
water: 7,798 sq km
Land boundaries: total: 3,621 km
border countries: Austria 784 km, Belgium 167 km, Czech Republic 646 km, Denmark 68 km, France 451 km, Luxembourg 138 km, Netherlands 577 km, Poland 456 km, Switzerland 334 km
Coastline: 2,389 km
Climate: temperate and marine; cool, cloudy, wet winters and summers; occasional warm mountain (foehn) wind
Natural resources: coal, lignite, natural gas, iron ore, copper, nickel, uranium, potash, salt, construction materials, timber, arable land
people  
Population: 80,854,408 (July 2015 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 12.88% (male 5,346,086/female 5,068,071)
15-24 years: 10.38% (male 4,279,962/female 4,113,746)
25-54 years: 41.38% (male 16,934,180/female 16,519,932)
55-64 years: 13.91% (male 5,571,694/female 5,675,104)
65 years and over: 21.45% (male 7,591,298/female 9,754,335) (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 46.5 years
male: 45.4 years
female: 47.5 years (2015 est.)
Population growth rate: -0.17% (2015 est.)
Birth rate: 8.47 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Death rate: 11.42 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Net migration rate 1.24 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
Nationality: noun: German(s)
adjective: German
Ethnic groups: German 91.5%, Turkish 2.4%, other 6.1% (made up largely of Greek, Italian, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish)
Religions: Protestant 34%, Roman Catholic 34%, Muslim 3.7%, unaffiliated or other 28.3%
Languages: German
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
government  
Country name: conventional long form: Federal Republic of Germany
conventional short form: Germany
local long form: Bundesrepublik Deutschland
local short form: Deutschland
former: German Empire, German Republic, German Reich
Government type: federal republic
Capital: name: Berlin
geographic coordinates: 52 31 N, 13 24 E
time difference: UTC+1
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions: 16 states (Laender, singular - Land); Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bayern (Bavaria), Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hessen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania), Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony), Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhine-Westphalia), Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate), Saarland, Sachsen (Saxony), Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony-Anhalt), Schleswig-Holstein, Thueringen (Thuringia); note - Bayern, Sachsen, and Thueringen refer to themselves as free states (Freistaaten, singular - Freistaat)
Independence: 18 January 1871 (establishment of the German Empire); divided into four zones of occupation (UK, US, USSR, and France) in 1945 following World War II; Federal Republic of Germany (FRG or West Germany) proclaimed on 23 May 1949 and included the former UK, US, and French zones; German Democratic Republic (GDR or East Germany) proclaimed on 7 October 1949 and included the former USSR zone; West Germany and East Germany unified on 3 October 1990; all four powers formally relinquished rights on 15 March 1991; notable earlier dates: 10 August 843 (Eastern Francia established from the division of the Carolingian Empire); 2 February 962 (crowning of OTTO I, recognized as the first Holy Roman Emperor)
National holiday: Unity Day, 3 October (1990)
Legal system: civil law system
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Joachim GAUCK (since 23 March 2012)
head of government: Chancellor Angela MERKEL (since 22 November 2005)
cabinet: Cabinet or Bundesminister (Federal Ministers) recommended by the chancellor, appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president indirectly elected for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term) by a Federal Convention consisting of the 630-member Federal Parliament (Bundestag) and 630 delegates indirectly elected by the state parliaments; election last held on 19 February 2012 (next to be held by June 2017); chancellor indirectly elected by absolute majority by the Federal Parliament for a 4-year term; Federal Parliament vote for chancellor last held on 17 December 2013 (next to be held following the September 2017 general election)
election results: Joachim GAUCK elected president; Federal Convention vote count - Joachim GAUCK (independent) 991, Beate KLARSFELD (independent) 126, Olaf ROSE (National People's Union) 3; Angela MERKEL (CDU) reelected chancellor; Federal Parliament vote - 462 for, 150 against, 4 abstentions
Legislative branch: bicameral legislature consists of the Federal Council or Bundesrat (69 votes; state governments sit in the Council; each has three to six votes in proportion to population and is required to vote as a block) and the Federal Parliament or Bundestag (630 seats; members elected by popular vote for a four-year term under a system of personalized proportional representation; a party must win 5% of the national vote or three direct mandates to gain proportional representation and caucus recognition)
elections: Bundestag - last held on 22 September 2013 (next to be held no later than autumn 2017); most all postwar German governments have been coalitions; note - there are no elections for the Bundesrat; composition is determined by the composition of the state-level governments; the composition of the Bundesrat has the potential to change any time one of the 16 states holds an election
election results: Bundestag - percent of vote by party - CDU/CSU 41.5%, SPD 25.7%, Left 8.6%, Greens 8.4%, FDP 4.8%, other 11%; seats by party - CDU/CSU 311, SPD 192, Left 64, Greens 63
Judicial branch: highest court(s): Federal Court of Justice (court consists of 127 judges including the court president, vice-presidents, presiding judges, and other judges, and organized into 25 Senates subdivided into 12 civil panels, 5 criminal panels, and 8 special panels; Federal Constitutional Court or Bundesverfassungsgericht (consists of 2 Senates each subdivided into 3 chambers, each with a chairman and 8 members)
judge selection and term of office: Federal Court of Justice judges selected by the Judges Election Committee, which consists of the Secretaries of Justice from each of the 16 federated States and 16 members appointed by the Federal Parliament; judges appointed by the president of Germany; judges serve until mandatory retirement at age 65; Federal Constitutional Court judges - one-half elected by the House of Representatives and one-half by the Senate; judges appointed for 12-year terms with mandatory retirement at age 68
subordinate courts: Federal Administrative Court; Federal Finance Court; Federal Labor Court; Federal Social Court; each of the 16 German states or Land has its own constitutional court and a hierarchy of ordinary (civil, criminal, family) and specialized (administrative, finance, labor, social) courts
Political parties and leaders: Alliance '90/Greens [Cem OEZDEMIR and Simone PETER]
Alternative for Germany or AfD [Bernd LUCKE];; Christian Democratic Union or CDU [Angela MERKEL]
Christian Social Union or CSU [Horst SEEHOFER]
Free Democratic Party or FDP [Christian LINDNER]
Left Party or Die Linke [Katia KIPPING and Bernd RIEXINGER]
Social Democratic Party or SPD [Sigmar GABRIEL]
Political pressure groups and leaders: other: business associations and employers' organizations; religious, trade unions, immigrant, expellee, and veterans groups
International organization participation: ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS, CD, CDB, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EITI (implementing country), EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-20, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), SICA (observer), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of black (top), red, and gold
communications  
Telephones - fixed lines: total subscriptions: 47.02 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 58 (2014 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellular: total: 99.5 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 123 (2014 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: Germany has one of the world's most technologically advanced telecommunications systems; as a result of intensive capital expenditures since reunification, the formerly backward system of the eastern part of the country, dating back to World War II, has been modernized and integrated with that of the western part
domestic: Germany is served by an extensive system of automatic telephone exchanges connected by modern networks of fiber-optic cable, coaxial cable, microwave radio relay, and a domestic satellite system; cellular telephone service is widely available, expanding rapidly, and includes roaming service to many foreign countries
international: country code - 49; Germany's international service is excellent worldwide, consisting of extensive land and undersea cable facilities as well as earth stations in the Inmarsat, Intelsat, Eutelsat, and Intersputnik satellite systems (2011)
Broadcast media: a mixture of publicly operated and privately owned TV and radio stations; national and regional public broadcasters compete with nearly 400 privately owned national and regional TV stations; more than 90% of households have cable or satellite TV; hundreds of radio stations including multiple national radio networks, regional radio networks, and a large number of local radio stations (2008)
Internet country code: .de
Internet hosts: 20.043 million (2012)
Internet users: total: 70.3 million
percent of population: 86.8% (2014 est.)
transportation  
Airports: 539 (2013)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 318
over 3,047 m: 14
2,438 to 3,047 m: 49
1,524 to 2,437 m: 60
914 to 1,523 m: 70
under 914 m: 125 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 221
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 35
under 914 m: 185 (2013)
Heliports: 23 (2013)
Pipelines: condensate 37 km; gas 26,985 km; oil 2,826 km; refined products 4,479 km; water 8 km (2013)
Railways: total: 43,468.3 km
standard gauge: 43,209.3 km 1.435-m gauge (19,973 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 220 km 1.000-m gauge (79 km electrified); 15 km 0.900-m gauge; 24 km 0.750-m gauge (2014)
Roadways: total: 645,000 km
paved: 645,000 km (includes 12,800 km of expressways)
note: includes local roads (2010)
Waterways: 7,467 km
note: Rhine River carries most goods; Main-Danube Canal links North Sea and Black Sea (2012)
Merchant marine:
total: 427
by type: barge carrier 2, bulk carrier 6, cargo 51, carrier 1, chemical tanker 15, container 298, liquefied gas 6, passenger 4, passenger/cargo 24, petroleum tanker 10, refrigerated cargo 3, roll on/roll off 6, vehicle carrier 1
foreign-owned: 6 (Finland 3, Netherlands 1, Switzerland 2)
registered in other countries: 3,420 (Antigua and Barbuda 1094, Australia 2, Bahamas 30, Bermuda 14, Brazil 6, Bulgaria 12, Burma 1, Cayman Islands 3, Cook Islands 1, Curacao 25, Cyprus 192, Denmark 9, Dominica 5, Estonia 1, France 1, Gibraltar 123, Hong Kong 10, Isle of Man 56, Jamaica 10, Liberia 1185, Luxembourg 9, Malta 135, Marshall Islands 248, Morocco 1, Netherlands 86, NZ 2, Panama 24, Papua New Guinea 1, Philippines 2, Portugal 14, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 3, Singapore 32, Slovakia 3, Spain 4, Sri Lanka 8, Sweden 3, UK 59, US 5, Venezuela 1) (2010)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Baltic Sea - Rostock; North Sea - Wilhelmshaven
river port(s): Bremen (Weser); Bremerhaven (Geeste); Duisburg, Karlsruhe, Neuss-Dusseldorf (Rhine); Brunsbuttel, Hamburg (Elbe); Lubeck (Wakenitz)
oil terminal(s): Brunsbuttel Canal terminals
container port(s): Bremen/Bremerhaven (5,915,487), Hamburg (9,014,165) (2011)
LNG terminal(s) (import): Hamburg
transnational issues  
Disputes - international: none
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 41,167 (Iraq); 40,994 (Syria); 27,814 (Afghanistan); 22,242 (Turkey); 18,814 (Iran); 9,294 (Serbia and Kosovo) (2014)
stateless persons: 11,917 (2014)
Illicit drugs: source of precursor chemicals for South American cocaine processors; transshipment point for and consumer of Southwest Asian heroin, Latin American cocaine, and European-produced synthetic drugs; major financial center
Update: This page was last updated on 10 November 2015
Sources: CIA, The World Factbook, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html