How many ethnic Germans are there in Germany

Diversity and participation : Where Germany is still too white

Their number is growing rapidly: 19.3 million people with a migration background, from infants to old women, now live in Germany. Their share in the total population is almost a quarter, namely 23.6 percent. In just one year, between 2016 and 2017, the Federal Statistical Office announced last week, this share rose by 4.4 percent. It was just five years ago that the Wiesbaden authority counted a fifth of the migrant population for the first time. The “migration background” has been recorded in general since 2005. Until then, the statistics only knew German and foreign citizens. Since then, it has also counted who lives here and was either born with a foreign nationality or has at least one parent without a German passport.

More than half of the "migrants" have a German passport

So the proportion is enormous and the curve has only been pointing upwards for years. But what about the participation of the “new Germans”, their share of professions, in public administration, in trade unions, universities and, last but not least, in management positions? It is very seldom at the height of its share in the population. And that is not a matter of course, because the majority of “people with a migration background” are not recently immigrants, but were born here - many of whom accept the label “migrant” because they feel less like it or not see stamped as belonging to it at all. After all, 51 percent of them - again the most recent number - have German citizenship, often alongside that of their parents or grandparents.

The unpopular criterion “migration background” has the advantage that with its help not only the growing actual diversity of society - as far as ethnic origin is concerned, its most visible, most discussed and contested variant - can be measured. The data that the Federal Statistical Office has been collecting for more than a decade also provides the basis for examining how far society has come in mapping this diversity or also: How much space it allows the “New Germans”. In recent years, more and more institutions have made use of this and came to the conclusion: not yet enough, at least not as much as it corresponds to their proportion of the population - but also not as much as their proportion of well-educated women and academics after would be expected.

Federal administration better than authorities in general

Parts of the public administration also looked up and discovered sadness: Even Berlin, which likes to present itself as a colorful metropolis, is very monochrome where decisions are made: According to a study published in March, 97 percent of executives are in the capital's authorities White. And this with a proportion of migrants that is behind the more mixed German cities such as Stuttgart or Frankfurt am Main, but still more than a quarter, i.e. slightly above the national proportion.

The federal administration came to a share of 14.8 percent two years ago when it counted in 14 federal ministries, the armed forces and eight higher federal authorities. That was significantly more than the 6.7 percent that the general statistics had determined three years earlier for the entire public administration. But it also lagged significantly behind the proportion of migrants in the total population, at that time already more than a fifth - and also behind the 20 percent migrants who were employed in the private sector at the same time.

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In addition, the then integration commissioner Aydan Özoguz complained that the air at the top of the federal authorities for migrants is thin. The majority of employees have so far been young women who were employed in rather lower career groups, less often in permanent contracts and less often civil servants. It had to “shake you awake”, she said at the time, when migrants “not only find it more difficult to find their way into the administration, but are also disproportionately represented in simple and middle-class services and apparently do not get anywhere”. The whole thing, so Özoguz, is reminiscent of the discussion about female managers.

In the administration, the state confronts the citizens directly - meeting people with “different” names and skin color rarely there, signals both the majority and the minority unspoken that they have no business there. Even more dramatic, perhaps, with the police, where the encounter with Father State can be full of conflict: in a study commissioned by the “Mediendienst Integration” last year, he found a clear underrepresentation in most of the 16 state police forces (the Federal Police has no data).

Particularly monochrome: staff rooms and editorial offices

In Schleswig-Holstein, for example, only 3.5 percent of the newly hired female police officers had a migration background, with a population share of a good 13 percent. In North Rhine-Westphalia more than a quarter of the people are immigrants or children of immigrants. Among the new law enforcement officers, however, there were only a little more than a tenth (twelve percent) in the 2016 survey. However, this already showed an increase compared to an earlier survey. And some countries had even achieved more than the respective proportion of migrants in the population. In Berlin, 29.2 percent of the newly hired police officers had a migration background, in Saxony-Anhalt nine - with a population share of only around five percent.

One of the most important socialization bodies in society, the school, has a particularly poor record: In the classrooms, more than a third of the children and young people with Turkish, Polish, Vietnamese or Arab families sit. However, those who teach them only have a family background like them in a tenth of the cases. 90 percent of the teachers are still long-established Germans. Even if there are doubts as to how important a teacher's migration background is for the learning success of their clientele, Germany's teachers' rooms do not yet reflect diversity, despite many funding programs, despite state and foundation scholarships for young migrants at schools.

There are also large blank spots outside the public sector for the participation of migrants. Especially where prevailing images and opinions about them are shaped and reinforced, for example in the media. Moderators and reporters with Greek, Turkish, Arabic and Italian names are now visible and audible on television and radio, also in the main news and in prime time programs. But the situation looks bleak with her colleagues who work on paper. Whereby it cannot be summarized in more recent and statistically valid numbers, because they are - indicative? - have not yet been collected.

Migrant MPs: AfD in front of CDU / CSU

But an initial study from 2006 concluded that only 1.2 of all journalists are migrants or children of migrants. And they're not even well distributed. "In 84 percent of the daily newspapers, the locals are among themselves," wrote Rainer Geißler, Kristina Enders and Verena Reuter in their study in the anthology "Medienumbrüche". The “New German Media Makers”, an association of migrant and non-migrant journalists who are committed to increasing this share, are now optimistically reckoning with a still gloomy two percent.

Nevertheless, a "blatant disproportion", as Geissler and colleagues state, and a "mortgage on guest worker policy" and their failure to integrate. In their opinion, the fact that the numbers are not even lower is due to the public broadcasters, who have an official integration mandate. The sense of diversity was therefore “more likely to emerge and be more widespread” than in newspaper offices.

The proportion of migrants in the Bundestag has risen slightly - even if it is still well below the population average of 23.6 percent. Since the election in September last year, eight percent of people with an immigrant background have sat in parliament. In the previous legislature it was only 5.9 percent. The ranking has not changed since then, despite the arrival of a new party, the AfD: As in 2013, the Left (18.8 percent), followed by the Greens (14.9), sent the proportionately most New Germans to the parliament. As in the past, the Union faction came in last with 2.9 percent. The AfD, which based its success primarily on migration panic, surprisingly surpassed not only them with 8.7 percent, but also the FDP (6.3). The SPD comes to 9.8 percent.

Only a union reflects the diversity of Germany

In terms of participation, the immigration society seems to be moving at a snail's pace at best. And Germany, which did not want to be for a long time, is not even particularly slow. In Canada, a declared and proud immigration country, which has been pursuing gender equality policy for decades, there are hardly more new Canadians employed in newspaper offices than new Germans in this country. But things are progressing. And in some places the goal of equal opportunities and participation even seems to have been achieved.

Some time ago, IG Metall had the number counted and - to some extent to its own astonishment - found that, with 21.7 percent of migrant members, it is a perfect mirror of society. At the official level, trade unionists with an immigrant background are represented by around a third, i.e. more than this already high membership percentage. The largest single trade union in the world is "the first major organization" in Germany to have achieved a representative share, wrote the team of scientists who examined the share.

It took time for the metalworkers to get this far - and a lot of commitment: IG Metall set up a “Department for Foreign Employees” 57 years ago, headed by Max Diamant. As a socialist and a Jew, he had to flee to Mexico under the Nazi regime and probably had a particular sensitivity and tenacity for the subject. Whether one should only represent German employees or all female employees was still highly controversial in the unions at the time. The Works Constitution Act then leveled the differences between the one and the other in 1972, an important prerequisite for actual equality in companies, says Serhat Karakayali, head of the IG Metall study. His team at the Berlin Institute for Comparative Integration and Migration Research now wants to take on other large organizations to find out what works.

"We feel more comfortable in the barracks than outside"

Obviously, not everything happens by itself. Dominik Wullers, founder of “Deutscher Soldat”, also confirms that commitment is required. Black and migrant soldiers have organized themselves in the association with the self-deprecating name. Their experiences could provide some clues. The Bundeswehr certifies Wuller's "relative freedom from discrimination". Despite a few "bad cases" of racism that made headlines, the nation's former school is "very fair and open". “We often feel more comfortable in the barracks and in uniform than outside,” says Wullers.

The federal government also offers opportunities that many with their family background would otherwise hardly be able to afford - for example, studying for which the employer pays. The proportion of minority students at the two Bundeswehr universities in Hamburg and Munich is even higher than their proportion in the troops.

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