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Germany

Germany's Population Statistics Off by Millions

According to the Federal Statistics Office, some 82.2 million people live in Germany. It now transpires this figure might be well off the mark -- and can be explained by German bureacracy.

A crowd of people

The German population is smaller than previously believed

Government statisticians said Tuesday, July 22, that they think 1 million Germans simply don't exist, with long-time statistics on Germany's population out of sync with reality.

Everyone living in Germany, citizen or alien, is meant to register their name and address at a local government office, and de-register themselves and their children when they move away.

The Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden uses the comings and goings to alter a 1987 West German census tally and numbers compiled in 1981 in communist East Germany.

Ghost residents

The office said Tuesday it believed the current population tally of 82.2 million was too high by 1.3 million because many people had failed to de-register themselves when moving to new homes. They remained on the books as "card-index ghosts."

During the European Union census of 2011, Germany plans to calculate its population using estimates from the registers, welfare records, mail-carrier records and a detailed survey of a small sample of the population.

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