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IN NUMBERS: A breakdown of Germany’s Muslim population

Around 5.5 million Muslims live in Germany, almost one million more than five years ago. And now the group is more diverse than ever before, according to a new study.

IN NUMBERS: A breakdown of Germany's Muslim population
Muslims praying in a mosque in Hanover during the month of Ramadan. Photo: DPA

The study, conducted once every five years, was presented this week in Nuremberg by the Interior Ministry.

It found that between 5.3 and 5.6 million people of the Islam faith currently live in Germany, making up a share of 6.4 to 6.7 percent of the country’s total population – which stands at around 83.2 million.

Compared to the last projection amid the refugee crisis in 2015, the number of Muslims in Germany has increased by around 900,000 people.

“The Muslim population has become more diverse in the context of immigration from Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East in recent years,” said BAMF President Hans-Eckhard Sommer.

Turkey continues to be the largest country of origin, accounting for 45 percent of the Muslim faith population. However, 27 percent now also come from Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa, and almost 20 percent from southeastern Europe. 

READ ALSO: Eight things to know about Islam in Germany

The study showed that levels of how religious people define themselves vary: 82 percent consider themselves strongly or ‘rather’ religious, and 39 percent of Muslims in Germany pray daily.

Yet only 30 percent of Muslim women and girls wear headscarves. But among women over the age of 65, the majority (62 percent) wear a head covering.

Most Muslims would rate their German language skills as good or very good (79 percent). And almost most all Muslims who were born in Germany state that they have a very good knowledge of German (93 percent).

Religion and integration

Presenting the report, Sommer said that factors such as length of stay in Germany, reasons for migration, or the overall social situation shape the integration process to a far greater extent than religious affiliation. 

Belonging to a German Verein (association) and learning the language are also key factors fostering better integration, he continued. 

The number of Muslims with vocational training is significantly higher in the second generation than among those who have emigrated themselves.

“The analyses also show that the influence of religion on integration is often overestimated,” Sommer said.


The faith – (der) Glauben

Headscarf – (das) Kopftuch

Country of origin – (das) Herkunftsland

overestimated – überschätzt

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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REVEALED: The most commonly asked questions about Germans and Germany

Ever wondered what the world is asking about Germany and the Germans? We looked at Google’s most searched results to find out – and help clear some of these queries up.

Hasan Salihamidzic, the sports director of FC Bayern, arrives with his wife at Oktoberfest in full traditional dress. Photo: picture alliance/dpa |

According to popular searches, Germany is the go-to place for good coffee and bread (although only if you like the hard kind) and the place to avoid if what you’re looking for is good food, good internet connection and low taxes. Of course, this is subjective; some people will travel long stretches to get a fresh, hot pretzel or a juicy Bratwurst, while others will take a hard pass.

When it comes to the question on the bad Internet – there is some truth to this. German is known for being behind other rich nations when it comes to connectivity. And from personal experience, the internet connection can seem a little medieval. The incoming German coalition government has, however, vowed to improve internet connectivity as part of their plans to modernise the country.

There are also frequent questions on learning the German language, and people pointing out that it is hard and complicated. This is probably due to the long compound words and its extensive grammar rules, however, as both English and German are Germanic languages with similar words in common, it’s not impossible to learn as an English-speaker.

Here’s a look at some of those questions…

Why is German called Deutsch? Whereas ‘German’ comes from the Latin, ‘Deutsch’ instead derives itself from the Indo-European root “þeudō”, meaning “people”. This slowly became “Deutsch” as we know it today. It can be a bit confusing to English-speakers, who are right to think it sounds a little more like “Dutch”, however the two languages do have the same roots which may explain it.

And why is Germany so boring? Again, probably a generalisation, especially given that Germany has a landmass of over 350,000 km² with areas ranging from high rise, industrial cities to traditional old town villages and even mountain ranges, so you’re sure to find a place that doesn’t bore you to tears.

Perhaps it is a question that comes from the stereotype that Germans are obsessed with strict about rules, organised and analytical. Or that they have no sense of humour – all of these things being not the most exciting traits. 

Either way, from my experience I can confirm that, even though there is truth to German society enjoying order and rules, the vast majority of people are not boring, and I’m sure if you come to Germany you’ll meet many interesting, funny and exciting people. 

READ ALSO: 12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Germany

When it comes to the German weather, most people assume a cold and cloudy climate, however this isn’t entirely true. While the autumn and winter, especially in the north, comes with grey skies and sub-zero temperatures, Germany can have some beautiful summers, with temperatures frequently rising above 30C in some places.

Unsurprisingly, the power and wealth of the German nation is mentioned – Germany is the largest economy in Europe after all, with a GDP of 3.8 trillion dollars. This could be due to strong industry sectors in the country, including vehicle constructions (I was a little surprised to find no questions posed on German cars), chemical and electrical industry and engineering. There are also many strong economic cities in Germany, most notably Munich, Frankfurt am Main and Hamburg.

READ ALSO: Eight unique words and phrases that tell us something about Germany

Smart and tall?

Why are Germans so tall? They are indeed taller than many other nations, with the average German measuring a good 172.87cm (or 5 feet 8.06 inches), however this may be a question better posed to the Dutch, who make up the tallest people in the world.

Why are Germans so smart? While this is again a generalisation – as individuals have different levels of intelligence in all countries – this question may stem from Germany’s free higher education system or their seemingly efficient work ethic. Plus there does seem to be some scientific research behind this question, with a study done in 2006 finding that Germans had the highest IQ in Europe.

So, while many of the questions posed about Germany and Germans on Google stem from stereotypes, we can confirm that some aren’t entirely made up. If you’re looking to debunk some frequently asked questions about France and the French, check out this article by our sister site HERE.