Country and people
Germany is 357,092 square kilometres large, has common borders with Denmark in the north, Poland and the Czech Republic in the east, Austria and Switzerland in the south, France and Luxembourg in the south-west as well as Belgium and the Netherlands in the north-west. This means Germany is the country with the most borders in Europe. Due to this position, Germany has great significance as a turntable for traffic between Scandinavia and the Mediterranean areas as well as between Western and Eastern Europe.
The Federal Republic of Germany consists of 16 member states, the Federal Länder. The smallest autonomous civil administrations are the Gemeinden (communities). They regulate all affairs in the local community.
Around 82 million people live in Germany, which corresponds to a population density of 229 persons per square kilometre. The proportion of people with a migration background among the overall population is 18.7%. The primary countries of origin of foreigners living in Germany are Turkey (around 1.713 million), the former Yugoslavia (714,075), Italy (528,318), Poland (384,804) and Greece (294,891). Included in the national minorities are the Slavic Sorbs (Spreewald), the Danes in Southern Schleswig, the Friesans as well as the Sinti and Roma.
In the year 2007, the number of births increased again for the first time in a number of years and reached 684,862. The average life expectancy amounts to 76 for men and 82 for women. According to the Federal Statistical Office, at the end of 2007 Germany had a working population of about 40.2 million. That corresponds on average to a rate of 67.5 per cent of employable persons between 15 and 64 years old.