How many foreigners currently live in India

What is the composition of the population in Germany? How many immigrants and descendants of immigrants are there? Population statistics are often ambiguous. We show which statistics say what.

How many "foreigners" live in Germany?

The number of "foreigners" - i.e. residents without German citizenship - varies between 10.1 and 11.4 million, depending on the survey.

  • According to the "Central Register of Foreigners" (AZR), around 11.4 million "foreigners" were living in Germany at the end of 2020. This increased the number by 1.8 percent over the course of the year (around 204,000 people). This increase is significantly smaller than in 2019 (+ 2.9 percent). The AZR recorded the greatest increases in 2020 from Romania (+ 51,000 people), Syria (+ 29,000 people) and Bulgaria (+ 29,000 people). SourceStatistisches Bundesamt (March 2021): Press release "Foreign population in 2020 by 1.8 percent waxed ", link and own calculation based on the Genesis database
  • The "population update" counted around 10.4 million "foreigners" for the end of 2019. Unlike the AZR, the "population update" is based on the "2011 census", the most recent census in Germany to date. Source Federal Statistical Office (2020): Foreign population results of the foreigner central register
  • According to the microcensus, around 10.1 million foreign citizens lived in Germany in 2019. Source Federal Statistical Office (2020): Population with a migration background - Results of the 2019 microcensus, p. 36

It is not possible to say clearly which number is the most reliable. However, experts suspect that the AZR's numbers are too high. The reason: The AZR was last "adjusted" in 2004, that is, compared with the data of the regional immigration authorities. At that time, the number of "foreigners" had to be revised downwards sharply. A comparison of the AZR with the 2011 census has so far not been possible either - for "technical and legal reasons", as the Federal Statistical Office explains.

How many people with a migration background live in Germany?

In 2019, around 21.2 million people with a so-called migration background lived in Germany - this corresponds to 26 percent of the population. 2018 see Federal Statistical Office (2019): "Every fourth person in Germany had a migration background in 2018", own calculation, the proportion was 25.5 percent.

  • Almost 11.1 million of them have a German passport.
  • Around 10.1 million are foreigners.
  • Around 13.7 million have "own migration experience", that is, they were born and immigrated abroad. SourceStatistisches Bundesamt: Press release of July 28, 2020

Germany's residents with a "migration background" are significantly younger than those without. In 2019, people with a migration background were on average 35.6 years old, whereas those without a migration background were 47.3 years old. SourceStatistisches Bundesamt (2020): "Population with a migration background - Results of the microcensus 2019". P. 71

The gender ratio among people with and without a migration background hardly differs. At the end of 2019, around 51.1 percent of people without a migration background were women. Among people with a migration background, the proportion of women was around 48.9 percent. SourceStatistisches Bundesamt (2020): "Population with a migration background - Results of the 2019 microcensus". P. 38

In an expertise for MEDIENDIENST, social anthropologist Anne-Kathrin Will explains how immigrants and their descendants are recorded in statistics. The sociologist Linda Supik explains here how other European countries record the “migration background”.


What are the largest groups of immigrants in Germany?

Of the 21.2 million people with a "migrant background" have

  • 13.3 percent have a Turkish migration background (around 2.8 million),
  • 10.5 percent have a Polish migration background (around 2.2 million),
  • 6.5 percent have a Russian migration background (around 1.4 million). SourceStatistisches Bundesamt (2020): Population with a migration background - Results of the 2019 microcensus, p. 68

Most of the 13.7 million people who immigrated to Germany themselves come from Europe: around 67 percent from European countries (including Turkey), around 39 percent from EU member states. Results of the 2019 microcensus, p. 72

Who are the "Aussiedler" and "Spätaussiedler"?

According to the microcensus, German "people belonging to the people" from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union - so-called repatriates and ethnic German repatriates - were the second largest group of immigrants in the Federal Republic of Germany with a good 2.6 million people, just behind the group of people of Turkish origin. In 2016, the Federal Statistical Office assumed that 3.2 million repatriates and ethnic German repatriates live in Germany. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the group has been recorded more precisely since 2017, for example because the country of birth and that of the parents have recently been queried. This made it clear that many people were previously counted who did not fall under the definition of repatriates and ethnic repatriates - for example because they were born outside of Europe and Asia 5, 68

According to the definition of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, repatriates and ethnic German repatriates are "people of German origin who suffered from the consequences of the Second World War in Eastern and Southeastern Europe as well as in the Soviet Union (and who) for decades after the end of the war because of their ethnicity massively persecuted ". They have enjoyed special protection in the Federal Republic since the early post-war period. In 1953, the Federal Government under Konrad Adenauer offered them with the Federal Expellees Act to immigrate with their families and enjoy full civil rights to which they are entitled under Article 116 of the Basic Law. Most of the repatriates came from the area of ​​the former Soviet Union, mainly from Russia and the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan, where the Stalin regime had banished the "Russian Germans" during the war. SourceBalculations by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) based on data of the Federal Office of Administration; BAMF (2013)



Number of people with a Turkish migration background in Germany

According to the microcensus, there were around 2.8 million people in Germany with a migrant background in Turkey in 2019. This makes them the largest group of people with a migration background in Germany. Slightly more than half of them (around 1.5 million) were born in Germany. SourceStatistisches Bundesamt (2020): Population with a migration background - Results of the microcensus 2019. p. 68 as well as at the request of the MEDIA SERVICE

What is your nationality?

Information on the nationality of people of Turkish origin can be found in various statistical sources. According to the microcensus, a representative sample of the population is surveyed for the microcensus. The results are extrapolated. In 2019, around 1.4 million people of Turkish origin had a German passport, 252,000 were "dual nationals". SourceStatistisches Bundesamt at the request of the MEDIA SERVICE

In contrast, the previous census In the 2011 census, existing administrative registers were evaluated and supplemented with results from surveys. According to 2011, almost 530,000 people have both German and Turkish passports. SourceStatistisches Bundesamt on request from MEDIA SERVICE

The census figures, which are mainly based on evaluations of entries in the population register, are likely to be too high. One of the reasons for this is that the Turkish authorities do not always inform the Germans when they have expatriated a person. The microcensus figures, on the other hand, which are based on self-assessment by the respondents, are likely to be too low. One of the reasons for this is that the respondents do not always state their second nationality.

The Central Register of Foreigners records all foreigners who have been in Germany for more than three months. (AZR) only records foreign nationals: As a result, around 1.5 million people had a Turkish passport at the end of 2019. How many of the foreigners registered in the AZR also have a German passport is not recorded. SourceStatistisches Bundesamt (2020): "Foreign population - results of the foreigner central register", p. 23

What migration flows are there between Germany and Turkey?

According to the Federal Statistical Office, around 44,000 Turkish citizens moved to Germany in 2019, and around 25,000 left Germany. In 2018 there were around 41,000 new arrivals and around 24,000 departures, in 2017 there were almost 34,000 new arrivals and 21,000 departures, in 2016 around 29,000 new arrivals and almost 25,000 departures. In previous years, however, the emigration of Turkish nationals was greater than their immigration (all data according to nationality). SourceStatistisches Bundesamt (2020): Migration between Germany and abroad; BAMF (2019): Migration Report 2018, pp. 208f


We have put together facts and figures on recent migration from Turkey in a factsheet for 2020. Integration researcher Hacı-Halil Uslucan wrote a guest article for MEDIENDIENST in 2017 on the political attitudes, religiosity and sense of belonging of people of Turkish origin.

Can immigration stop demographic change?

"The aging of the population in Germany will continue to intensify despite high net immigration and increased birth rates," wrote the Federal Statistical Office in June 2019. The working population will shrink from 51.8 million in 2018 by around 4 to 6 million by 2035, according to them prognosis. Without net immigration, the decline would even amount to around 9 million. According to the Federal Statistical Office, "an increasing birth rate and permanently high net immigration will only slow down aging and not prevent it." SourceStatistisches Bundesamt: Statistisches Bundesamt (2019): 14th coordinated population projection for the "population of Germany by 2060" and the Federal Statistical Office (2019) : Press release from June 27, 2019

How many migrants are there worldwide?

According to the United Nations (UN), there were around 272 million migrants worldwide in 2019. According to the UN see United Nations (2019): "International Migration Report 2017", p. 3, this includes all people who live outside the country in which they were born. In the last few decades the number has increased significantly: in 1990 it was still around 153 million. Source for 2019: United Nations (2019): "International Migration Report 2019", p. 3 f .; for 1990: United Nations (2018): "International migration stock - The 2017 revision", Excel table "Total international migration stock"

In 2019, most of the migrants came from India, Mexico and China. The countries in which most of the migrants lived were the USA (more than 50 million), Germany and Saudi Arabia (around 13 million each). Source United Nations (2019): "International Migration Report 2019, p. 26


News On the subject: Population

Interview Will the migration background be abolished now?

The "migration background" has long been criticized. The Expert Commission for Integration Skills now recommends that the Federal Government no longer use the term. A conversation with social anthropologist Anne-Kathrin Will about what that means.

Population How many Russian speakers live in Germany?

Different numbers about the "Russian speakers" in Germany are circulating in the media. They vary between three and six million. In reality, the number is likely to be smaller, say experts.

Migrants from India Young and well educated

39,000 Indians migrated to Germany in 2019. That was a new record. MEDIENDIENST has compiled important facts and figures on migration from India to Germany.

about us

MEDIA SERVICE INTEGRATION is a service platform for journalists.

On our website we offer facts, figures and background reports on migration, integration and asylum in Germany. We work closely with scientists and provide experts for reporting. Subscribe to our newsletter and receive the latest dates on our topics.

MEDIENDIENST INTEGRATION is a project of the "Rat für Migration e.V.", a nationwide association of migration researchers. He works independently and wants to intensify the exchange between science and the media.