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Evelyn Grünheid (2008)

The Consequences of Demographic Developments on Germany’s Internal Security*

In: Zeitschrift für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, Vol. 33, 1/2008, p. 55-88, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, ISSN: 0340-2398, DOI: 10.1007/s12523-008-0005-y

Under the current conditions of worldwide globalisation, and with the new possibilities offered by technology and intensive international networking, it has become difficult to distinguish between internal and external security. The following aspects are directly relevant to internal security in Germany:

  • danger to citizens' life, limb and property;
  • risk to the integrity and functionality of the State, society and economic institutions;
  • damage to legal interests and German security interests.

This article discusses on the basis of the current state of research the demographic developments which affect these aspects of security. Danger to citizens’ life, limb and property arises above all in the field of crime. This is a matter of the potential impact on crime processes had by demographic processes, such as changes in the age structure of the population, or problem areas arising as a result of internal migration processes. Thus, demographic developments can increase existing disparities in the spread of the population or create new ones, which can give rise to social problems ranging through to security problems. Security-relevant problems may also come about as a result of migration processes, and in some cases of the concomitant lack of integration of persons of foreign origin. One may think here for instance of the development of parallel societies in certain residential areas, above all in cities. Illegal immigration is linked from the outset with a violation of German border regulations, but illegality may also arise gradually by exceeding the legally-permitted stay. Hence, illegal immigration on the one hand violates the legal norms (for instance entry regulations, residence rules), and may question the State’s core competence to control borders. On the other hand, illegal immigrants are exposed increasingly to exploitation and arbitrary treatment – this means that organised crime and consequential crime are promoted. However, demographic processes may also become relevant in terms of security in another way: Shifts in the age structure of Germans and in the share of resident foreigners change the potential available for recruiting new army and security members.

* original German title: Die Auswirkungen demographischer Entwicklungen auf die innere Sicherheit in Deutschland

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