Germany has seen another decline in its birth rate, which is Europe's lowest
Official figures show that the number of births fell by a further 2.8% last year. Meanwhile, the mortality rate rose by 1.5% compared with 2004.
The birth rate is exceptionally low in the former East Germany, where the city of Chemnitz is thought to have the lowest birth rate in the world.
Economists say Europe's population decline threatens to damage economic growth for decades.
The data from Germany's Office for Federal Statistics show there were 686,000 births last year - half as many as in the early 1960s.
Germany has had the lowest birth rate in Europe for some time and this trend has been confirmed.
In 2005 it had 8.5 births per 1,000 inhabitants, compared with 12 in Britain, 12.7 in France and 15.2 in Ireland.
The German cabinet approved proposals earlier this year for a new state allowance to encourage people to have children.
Germany registered 830,000 deaths last year - an increase of 1.5% over the 2004 figure.
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