Every 5th person in Germany is from migrant family – study

© Fabrizio Bensch
The number of people in Germany from foreign backgrounds has reached a new high of 21 percent, a recent study suggests. Migrants who came to Germany in and after 2015 were not included in the statistics, however.

Germany’s Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) has released data which shows every fifth person in Germany (21 percent), has some kind of migrant background – meaning that out of a population of 82.2 million, 17.1 million people are not exclusively of German descent.

The data, however, didn’t include hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Northern Africa and elsewhere, who came to Germany in and after 2015, Destatis pointed out.

A person is considered to be of migrant background if they didn’t have a German passport at birth, or if one of their parents is not a German citizen.

A total of 6.4 million people out of the 17.1 million with foreign backgrounds migrated to Germany. Some 5 million others were of German descent, but were born outside Germany.

The microcensus conducted in 2015 showed an increase of 4.4 percent compared to 2014, the report says.

Most of the migrants mentioned in the report have links with Turkey, Poland or Russia. A total of 6.3 million people had relatives in Greece, Italy or Turkey who came to Germany as guest workers in the 1960s or 1970s.

Among the population under 18 years old, one in three comes from an immigrant family.

People with immigrant backgrounds are usually less well-educated, according to Destatis. Non-German citizens between the ages of 25 and 35 usually don’t have a high school diploma, and only some have a vocational high school degree.

If a person with an immigrant background enters university, however, they achieve about the same results as non-migrants, the study suggests.

The data also showed that migrants were less likely to obtain a job and were twice as likely to be engaged in manual labor.

There are also significant wage differences between people of different backgrounds. One example the study lists is that of young professionals with French roots, who usually earn about twice as much as those from Bulgaria do – €2,622 (US$2,930) compared with €1,352 ($1,500), respectively.

The census explores the trends common in various ethnic communities. Chinese students living in Germany are more likely to continue their education at university after they finish school than those who came from Turkey.

In 2015, Germany was named as the country hosting the second-highest number of international migrants worldwide by the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

As of 2014, the largest number of immigrants had arrived from Turkey (2.85 million), followed by Poland (1.61 million), Russia (1.18 million), and Italy (764,000), an earlier Destatis microcensus showed.

In addition, since the end of 1980s, nearly 3 million ethnic Germans have exercised their right of return and come back to their ancestral homeland.