The future voters of Germany: estimating the impact of demographic trends and policy changes on the development of the electorate

Nora Sánchez Gassen, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Who will have the right to vote in the future? This topic is important, as a state receives political legitimacy from the members of its electorate who participate in elections. So far, demographic studies have not systematically analysed which impact current demographic changes and migration will have on the future size of the electorates of different European states. This research project will contribute to close this reasearch gap. It will focus on Germany and estimate the future development of its electorate (German citizens above age 18) by means of a multistate population projection. In a second step, it will be analysed to which extent the size of the electorate would be influenced by extending the right to vote to foreign citizens or minors. For this part of the analysis, different policy scenarios will be implemented into the population projection. All in all, this research project seeks to answer the two following questions: 1. Will the number and share of persons who are entitled to vote in Germany increase or decrease in the future? 2. In case the relative size of the electorate is found to decrease in the future, could this trend be counteracted by extending the right to vote? By analyzing the impact of both demographic developments and policy changes on the future relative size of the electorate in Germany, this study will contribute to our understanding of how political rights will be distributed in societies experiencing low fertility rates and high immigration. Moreover, it will show how political reforms of citizenship and voting policies might be used to influence these trends.

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Presented in Poster Session 1