Despite its success in the Bundestag elections last autumn, the SPD continues to lose members.

Contrary to claims made by the party during the election campaign, the number of registered Social Democrats has even fallen below the symbolically important 400,000 mark.

According to current information from the Willy Brandt House, more than 22,000 members left the party in the last year of the term of office of former General Secretary Lars Klingbeil.

Peter Carstens

Political correspondent in Berlin

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After winning the federal elections, more new members joined the party in September than in any other month of the year, but they were unable to make up for another loss of around five percent in membership.

The number of new members for the whole year was 12,266.

The situation is different for the Greens

If you add up entries and exits, the SPD still had 393,727 members as of December 31, 2021.

A year earlier it was 404,300, at the beginning of 2018 it was 463,700.

Norbert Walter-Borjans, who has since left the party, had claimed in his balance sheet speech at the party conference in December that SPD membership was “400,000 in number”.

The situation with the Greens is very different from that of the Social Democrats. According to current information, they have 125,000 members, almost 20,000 more than a year ago.

The party has doubled its membership since 2015.

With the Social Democrats, the hope of significantly increasing the proportion of women in the party remains unfulfilled.

More than two-thirds of party members are still male.

The proportion of women has increased by only two and a half percentage points over the past 20 years.

The Greens seem to be much more attractive for women on the left spectrum, where their share in the state associations is up to 45 percent, for example in Schleswig-Holstein.

In response to repeated requests, the Social Democrats said that eight percent of their members were under 30 and 56 percent were over 60.

The average age of party members has now risen to 61 years.