German foreign population growth sinks to lowest level in a decade

German foreign population growth sinks to lowest level in a decade

Across the year of 2020, a total of 11,4 million expats and internationals were registered as living in Germany, a growth of 1,8 percent - the lowest increase in inward migration in the last 10 years.

The pandemic slowed inward migration for Germany in 2020

11,4 million people without German passports were living in Germany at the end of 2020, according to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) - an increase of 204.000 (1,8 percent) on the end of 2019, and therefore the smallest increase in the past 10 years. 

According to Destatis, the reason for the dip was falling net immigration, as the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany put constraints on foreign travel. In 2020, 740.000 foreigners immigrated to Germany, while 479.000 people emigrated from the country - a net increase of 262.000 people. In 2019, net migration was at 377.000 people. 

Immigration from other EU countries remains stable

In particular, the number of people from so-called "third countries" outside the European Union fell sharply, with net immigration shrinking year-on-year by 44 percent, to 157.000. The largest drop of all can be seen in the number of Indian nationals arriving in Germany, which fell from 21.000 arrivals in 2019 to just 8.000 in 2020. For the first time, the number of Chinese and US citizens who left Germany exceeded the number who arrived. 

Net immigration from EU countries remained roughly the same in 2020 as the year before. Excluding British citizens, approximately 107.000 people, or 2,2 percent more foreigners from EU countries came to live in Germany in 2020, a growth rate that is roughly equal to 2019.

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily studied International Relations and Chinese, and is now undertaking Master's degree in International Security. She enjoys writing, cooking, and playing piano.

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