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Science Year 2013

"The Demographic Opportunity"

Centenarians living in group homes, retired managers sharing their knowledge with the younger generation, migrants running large companies and creating jobs: demographic change will bring fundamental change to our lives in the coming years. Whether education or the labour market, healthcare or family - the change will affect every aspect of society.

Two trends will dominate: life expectancy will increase as birth rates decline. Lifelong learning will extend studies and training. Our society will become more diverse and the way we work will undergo basic change. By gearing ourselves towards these developments in good time, Germany's innovative strength and competitiveness will also hold its ground in the future. Demographic change is not a threat, it's an incentive and an opportunity to be used to our advantage.

Recognizing challenges

The motto of "We are living longer, we are becoming fewer, we are becoming more diverse" in the Year of Science 2013 - The Demographic Opportunity outlines three fields of action in which to tackle these challenges. The aim is to put forward concrete approaches and solutions for each field. The focus of the discussion is how politics, industry and society can face up to the changes and use them to their advantage.

  • Firstly, we are living longer: Thanks to advances in medicine and a more conscious lifestyle, more and more people are not only growing older, they are also staying healthy longer. This is making it possible for many people to be active as they embark on the next chapter of life after retirement. But what needs does this new generation of seniors have? How can society benefit from the skills they have?
  • On the other hand, we are becoming fewer: For businesses to attract new talent and keep experienced workers in the future, work itself must be organized differently and qualified workers from abroad must be better integrated. How can we strike a better balance between work life and leisure? How can women pursue a career - without having to opt out of having children?
  • Finally, we are becoming ever more diverse because migrants are playing an ever greater role in our economy, and our traditional family structures are also changing. So how do we bring order into this cultural and social diversity? How do we harmonize individuality and social cohesion?

Part 1: Challenges and chances

Part 2: Events