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'Germany is a country of migration': Stats

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'Germany is a country of migration': Stats
Photo: DPA
16:12 CET+01:00
New data released from the 2013 Microcensus showed that one in five Germans are from a migration background, Destatis announced on Friday.

More than 16 million people in Germany have roots outside of the country, Destatis said.

"The phrase 'Germany is a country of migration' is supported by these new numbers from the Federal Statistics Office," said Social Democrat (SPD) politician and government migration commissioner Aydan Özoguz. "Our country is as diverse as ever."

In the year 2013, the data showed that the migrant population in Germany grew by 3.8 percent, making it "the largest increase over the previous years" since the survey began in 2005, the Federal Statistics Office noted.

Destatis officer Joscha Dick said that the number crunchers counted anyone who had migrated to Germany since 1950 and their descendants and all foreigners. Of that group, 60 percent hold a German passport and around a third were born in Germany.

The survey also showed that there was a difference between the former East and West countries.

"Even 25 years after the fall of the wall, the former countries show very different numbers," said Dick.

Almost all, 97 percent, are found in the former West and in Berlin. In Thuringia, only four percent of the population have a migration background.

Professor Ludger Preis Foundation for Integration and Migration said that those low numbers could have dire consequences for states like Thuringia.

"Immigration has become the most important factor for compensating the population decline," he said.

Preis said that the idea that migrants will drain German social services is an old prejudice that Germans must get away from.

"Since the 1990s, there are more and more migrants from central and eastern Europe who area well educated," he said.

Stephan Sievert from the Berlin Institute for Population and Development said that current debates around "migration poverty" are distorting the big picture of migrants coming to Germany.

"Or course there are challenges," he said. "But there is also a lot being thrown into the pot with a lot of potential... We need immigration."

Most migrants in Germany stem from Turkey (13 percent) followed by Poland, Russia, Kazakhstan and then Romania to round out the top five.

Ozuguz said that while the federal government has done plenty to integrate migrants, "There remains much to do. We have yet to succeed in enabling children to have educational success regardless of their social background - whether in school or vocational training."

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