More than a quarter of Germany's population now has a migration background

More than a quarter of Germany's population now has a migration background

The number of people in Germany with a so-called “migration background” continues to rise. According to the latest figures from the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), more than one in four people in Germany now has foreign roots. 

22,3 million people in Germany with foreign roots

In 2021, 22,3 million people in Germany had a migration background - which equates to 27,2 percent of the total population of 82 million. As Destatis reported on Tuesday, this represents a 2 percent increase on 2020, when 21,9 million people with foreign roots were recorded as living in Germany, and is the highest number recorded since the survey was first conducted in 2005. 

Destatis defines someone as having a “migration background” if they or at least one of their parents was not born with German citizenship

Most migrants in Germany from European countries

In 2021, more than half of the people with a migration background had a German passport - many of them since birth - while the remaining 47 percent had foreign citizenship. 

Almost two-thirds of all people with a migrant background (62 percent or 13,9 million people) are immigrants from another European country or their descendants. 7,5 million have roots in another EU member state - perhaps unsurprisingly since nationals of these countries have the right to live and work in Germany without needing a visa or a residence permit.  

The second most common continent of origin is Asia, with 5,1 million migrants and their descendents hailing from Asian countries, including 3,5 million with links to the Middle East. 1,1 million people (5,5 percent) have links to African countries, while 0,7 million people are immigrants or descendents of immigrants from North, Central and South America and Australia. 

The best-represented countries of origin are Turkey (12 percent of all people with migrant backgrounds), Poland (10 percent), Russia (6 percent), Kazakhstan (6 percent) and Syria (5 percent). 

Almost half (49 percent) of all people with a migration background are multilingual and speak both German and at least one other language at home. Besides the German language, the most commonly spoken languages were Turkish (8 percent), Russian (7 percent) and Arabic (5 percent). 



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

Read more



Leave a comment