Entwicklung der Anzahl von Grundschüler/innen

Development of the number of primary school pupils • Profiling Institute

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A few years ago, the birth rate of children in Germany was constantly falling. Today, however, the situation is changing again in the opposite direction and more children are being born again. However, this also means that more children are coming to school. How is the number of primary school pupils developing? And how will it develop further?

Current numbers

That Institute of German Economics (IW) he has himself in his Short report IW 85/2019 “Primary schools: It’s tight in the cities” dealing with the development of the number of primary school pupils. They were mainly based on the values ​​of the Federal Statistical Office and compared them for different years in order to show past developments and also be able to estimate future developments.

At first, attention was focused on development of the number of births in Germany. This reached its lowest point in 2016, but then increased again until 2018. In addition, by 2018 many children of primary school age, i.e. under the age of 10, immigrated to Germany. This is also reflected in Development of the number of primary school pupils again. This was particularly low in the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 school years and has been rising again since then. In 2018/2019, there were 2.8 million primary school pupils in the first to fourth grades nationwide. If all pupils from the first to fourth year were included, i.e. also those who are at the basic level of the integrated secondary school in Baden-Württemberg, the increase would be even more significant. Total number of primary school pupils they have increased by 4 percent since the 2014/2015 school year.

states and regions

However, in relation to the federal states, this development in the number of primary school pupils between 2014/2015 and 2018/2019 would be distributed and reflected differently. So be it numbers increased almost everywhere, in Lower Saxony, on the other hand, there was a decrease in numbers by 1.8 percent. The increase in North Rhine-Westphalia (2 percent), Baden-Württemberg (2.8 percent) and Rhineland-Palatinate (3.9 percent) was rather small. The biggest increase was in Brandenburg (11.3 percent), followed by Berlin (10.2 percent), Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (10.1 percent) and Saxony (10 percent). Generally be The development in the eastern federal states and in the city-states more clearly or stronger than in the rest of Germany.

However, IW does not only take into account developments differentiated by federal states, but also by region, i.e. large cities, urban districts, rural areas and sparsely populated rural areas. The development between 2013/2014 and 2017/2018 was considered nationwide, in the western and eastern states, but without figures from the state of Baden-Württemberg. It was clear that especially in the western Länder, the urban-rural divide was clear. The increase in the number of primary school pupils in the large cities in western Germany was particularly pronounced, at 7.7 percent, while in the remaining areas it ranged between only 2.4 and even -0.7 percent. In East Germany, the increase in the number of primary school pupils was also more noticeable in rural areas.


In addition to this past development of the number of primary school pupils, IW also deals with future forecasts and outlooks. For this purpose, there are numbers 2 to 5 years and 0 to 3 years living in Germany used. It turned out that 2018 5.6 percent more 2- to 5-year-old children in Germany they lived as 6- to 10-year-old children, i.e. children of elementary school age. Looking at children from 0 to 3 years development is even clearer and reaches 8.1 percent. In addition, it is necessary to count on many children who would immigrate to Germany only in the coming years. With the estimated number of these children, the difference would be approx 9 percent highlight.

Such a significant increase in the number of 2- to 5-year-old children means that The number of primary school pupils in Germany will continue to rise significantly in the future will. This is related to the federal states especially in city states can be expected, while significant increases in the eastern Länder would probably decline again. However, numbers are expected to continue to rise in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse.

This data was also further differentiated by four regions Large cities, urban districts, rural areas and sparsely populated rural areas are considered, with national values ​​and values ​​for East and West (this time including values ​​for Baden-Württemberg). Available data from 2017 has been taken into account here to the west of Germany there is a clear difference between development in cities and in rural regions. In large cities, there are significantly more children between the ages of 2 and 5, but also between 0 and 3 years, compared to the current 6 to 10 years, while in more rural regions the difference is significantly smaller or even negative. It can therefore be assumed that the number of primary school pupils in western cities will increase even more in the future. A similar development can also be expected in the east in the future, as the number of 2-5-year-olds and 0-3-year-olds in rural areas would also be significantly lower than in large cities. According to IW, it can therefore be expected that in the future there will also be a difference in the number of primary school pupils between the city and the countryside in the East.

Against the background of the legal right to a full-day school place, this development in the number of primary school pupils is necessary Possibility of all-day care nationwide and especially in cities to meet the growing demand. According to IW, political action is also needed to support this.

Here you will find the short report IW 85/2019:

Elementary schools: It’s getting tight in the cities

You can also find an iwd (Information Service of the German Economic Institute) article on this topic here:

More young people in schools

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