Grow up and get out of the house
The week's news at a glance.
Susanne GaschkeDie Zeit
Germans dont have time to have kids, said Susanne Gaschke in Hamburgs Die Zeit. The government recently asked a commission to find out why the birth rate in this country is so lowat 1.3 children per woman, rather than the 2.1 required to keep the population steady. The results came in last week: The German education system is to blame. Young people get out of high school at 18, later than in many countries. Then many enter college, where a typical five-year degree usually takes much longer to complete, as most students work part-time and study part-time. Those who want to skip college and start work must enter an apprenticeship program of at least two years, even to become a retail sales clerk. During their most fertile years, then, many Germans are still living at home, either studying or learning a trade. And anyone who lives with his parents is unlikely to enter a serious relationship, let alone a marriage. Its only when they get out on their own that theyre ready to date, get hitched, have kidsand at that point, theres only time for one child. The solution to Germanys fertility problem is quite clear. Make the kids grow up a little sooner.