Berlin, Germany
Berlin Creative Commons / caro77

A massive influx of immigrants fleeing economically-crippled southern European countries could push financially powerful Germany's population by 2.2-million by the year 2017.

As of July 2012, Germany had a population of a little more than 81 million.

Researchers at Germany's Kiel Economics, predict that as the euro zone crisis continues to strangle Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy, many young job seekers will seek to migrate to Germany.

In Spain, for example, the overall unemployment rate is 24 percent, while for the young, more than half are jobless.

In contrast, Germany has a relatively modest unemployment rate of 6.9 percent and needs skilled workers.

The main reason is for people to come is that unemployment rates in Germany are comparatively low to those in the euro-zone,” said Carsten-Patrick Meier from Kiel Economics.

We expect unemployment to remain high over the next few years. But in Germany it should remain low and where you have low unemployment you have high wage growth.”

The Daily Telegraph reported that in 2012, Germany's population has jumped by 389,000, largely due to immigration from southern Europe.

During the first half of 2012, immigration to Germany jumped by 35 percent over the prior year-ago period.

An estimated 506,000 immigrants are expected to cross into Germany in 2014.

The Telegraph noted that while Germany welcomes skilled migrants, labor unions fear an influx of unskilled workers, which would eventually lead to a decline in average wages.

In 2011, according to government statistics, Germany's population rose for the first time in eight years, largely driven by immigration from Eastern Europe, particularly Poland.

About 9 percent of Germany's population are immigrants or descendants of recent immigrants, principally from Turkey, Greece, Poland, Italy, Russia and Spain.

Nonetheless, like many advanced European countries and Japan, Germany faces a long-term demographic catastrophe that increased immigration might not be able to fix.

Falling fertility rates mean that Germany's population will continued to shrink (even if one takes into account the current surge in immigration.)

Last year, Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich forecast that the country's population will shrink by one-fifth by the year 2060.

The German government warned that the country's birth rate is only 1.4 per woman, far below the 2.1 figure needed to sustain a stable population.

Germany recorded 663,000 live births last year, down 2.2 percent from 2010. In contrast, about 852,000 deaths occurred in 2010.