There seems to be a report in just about every newspaper or magazine these days about Germany's population problem and it's all beginning to evoke that glazed-over "come-on-tell-me-something-new" reaction. After all, just how many different ways are there to present the "ageing population"?
But last week a news report came out which opened my eyes again. By 2060, Great Britain will be the biggest European country, population-wise. Now, I think it's debateable whether my countrymen will have admitted to being part of Europe by then, but it is quite extraordinary to think that before too long, that group of little islands will support more people than the vastness of Germany.
While immigration is a factor, the over-riding difference, of course, is in the birthrate. And I have to say that, had I known what I know now about the difficulties of combining parenthood and career in Germany, I might have done things differently. It seems wrong that, as I start to think about the next school for my son, my first criterion is whether they provide ganztags education or facilities, rather than academic standards, philosophy or even location.