For members


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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For members


Living in Germany: Battles over Bürgergeld, rolling the ‘die’ and carnival lingo

From the push to reform long-term unemployment benefits to the lingo you need to know as Carnival season kicks off, we look at the highlights of life in Germany.

Living in Germany: Battles over Bürgergeld, rolling the 'die' and carnival lingo

Deadlock looms as debates over Bürgergeld heat up 

Following a vote in the Bundestag on Thursday, the government’s planned reforms to long-term unemployment benefits are one step closer to becoming reality. Replacing the controversial Hartz IV system, Bürgergeld (or Citizens’ Allowance) is intended to be a fair bit easier on claimants.

Not only will the monthly payment be raised from €449 to €502, but jobseekers will also be given a grace period of two years before checks are carried out on the size of their apartment or savings of up to €60,000. The system will also move away from sanctions with a so-called “trust period” of six months, during which benefits won’t be docked at all – except in very extreme circumstances. 

Speaking in parliament, Labour Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) said the spirit of the new system was “solidarity, trust and encouragement” and praised the fact that Bürgergeld would help people get back into the job market with funding for training and education. But not everyone is happy about the changes. In particular, politicians from the opposition CDU/CSU parties have responded with outrage at the move away from sanctions.

CDU leader Friedrich Merz has even branded the system a step towards “unconditional Basic Income” and argued that nobody will be incentivised to return to work. 

The CDU and CSU are now threatening to block the Bürgergeld legislation when it’s put to a vote in the Bundesrat on Monday. With the conservatives controlling most of the federal states – and thus most of the seats in the upper house – things could get interesting. Be sure to keep an eye out for our coverage in the coming weeks to see how the saga unfolds. 

Tweet of the week

When you first start learning German, picking the right article to use can truly be a roll of the “die” – so we’re entirely on board with this slightly unconventional way to decide whether you’re in a “der”, “die”, or “das” situation. (Warning: this may not improve your German.) 

Where is this?

Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

Residents of Frankfurt am Main and the surrounding area will no doubt recognise this as the charming town of Kronberg, which is nestled at the foot of the Taunus mountains.

This atmospheric scene was snapped on Friday morning, when a drop in temperatures saw Kronberg and surrounding forests shrouded in autumnal fog.

After a decidedly warm start to November, the mercury is expected to drop into single digits over the weekend. 

Did you know?

November 11th marked the start of carnival season in Germany. But did you know that there’s a whole set of lingo to go along with the tradition? And it all depends on where you are. First of all, the celebration isn’t called the same thing everywhere. In the Rhineland, it’s usually called Karneval, while people in Bavaria or Saxony tend to call it Fasching. Those in Hesse and Saarland usually call it Fastnacht. 

And depending on where you are, there are different things to shout. The ‘fools call’ you’ll hear in Cologne is “Alaaf!” If you move away from Cologne, you’ll hear “Helau!” This is the traditional cry in the carnival strongholds of Düsseldorf and Mainz, as well as in some other German cities.

In the Swabian-Alemannic language region in the southwest of the country, people yell “Narri-Narro”, which means “I’m a fool, you’re a fool”. In Saarland at the French border, they shout “Alleh hopp!”, which is said to originate from the French language. 

Lastly, if someone offers you a Fastnachtskrapfe, say yes because it’s a jelly-filled carnival donut. And if you’re offered a Bützchen? It’s your call, but know that it’s a little kiss given to strangers!