15 percent of the German population speak almost no German at home

15 percent of the German population speak almost no German at home

Data published by Destatis for International Mother Language Day has revealed that almost 15 percent of people living in Germany speak little to no German at home. Arabic, Polish and English are among the most common foreign languages spoken in German households today.

5 percent of people speak no German at home

According to the most recent data collected by a Destatis household survey, 80 percent of people in Germany speak exclusively German at home, while 15 percent live in households or families where more than one language is spoken. Within this 15 percent, a third speak German the majority of the time, and for two-thirds, most conversations are in a language other than German.

The remaining 5 percent of households speak no German at home, amounting to 4,1 million people in the federal states. However, since the Destatis survey used data from 2021, this number is likely to have increased due to the further 1,1 million Ukrainian refugees now living in Germany.

What languages are spoken at home in Germany?

So if people are dropping the German as soon as they slip on their Hausschuhe, what language are they speaking with family, friends and flatmates at home? 

Unsurprisingly, in 15 percent of households where people overwhelmingly speak a language other than German, Turkish is the spoken language. Russian followed shortly after, with 13 percent of bilingual households using the Slavonic language. In 10 percent of polyglot households, Arabic was the second language, followed by Polish with 7 percent and English with 6 percent.

Of the 22,6 million people across Germany who have a migration background, almost a third speak exclusively German at home. Half of the people who have ausländische Wurzeln (foreign roots) use another language in combination with German to communicate with other household members. In the same group, 18 percent speak no German at home, but one or more other languages.

Thumb image credit: juliaap /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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Alex Bandji 00:49 | 28 March 2023

So which are the most common? First you write about Arabic, Polish and English but later it's more like: Turkish, Russian, Arabic.