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A father and his song sit on a couch and read a book
Image: imago images/Westend61/D. Ingold

Most migrant families speak German at home

September 10, 2019

Most people with immigrant backgrounds in Germany primarily speak German at home, according to microcensus data. The results come on the heels of a debate about holding kids back from school over their German skills.


German was the most spoken language in immigrant households in 2018, according to data released by the the Federal Statistics Office (Destatis) on Tuesday.

In 63% of households that had at least one person with an immigrant background, German was the most dominant language.

Read more: Germany: 20.8 million people with immigrant background 

The second-most spoken language was Turkish, which was the dominant language in 7% of homes, followed by Russian with 5% and Polish and Arabic with 3%.

Which language is primarily used at home depends on how many people with immigrant backgrounds live in the household, according to Destatis.

If only one family member has an immigrant background, German was the dominant language in 95% of the cases. That compares to 44% in homes where all members were immigrants. 

Read more: Visiting a Berlin elementary school where German isn't always spoken

The microcensus data comes on the heels of a debate that erupted in Germany last month about language and integration in schools.

Carsten Linnemann, a high-ranking member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), suggested in early August that children should be held back from starting elementary school if their German skills weren't good enough.

His statements sparked a backlash in German media and were immediately condemned by members of his party — although polls showed that many Germans agreed with him.

German idioms you really shouldn't take literally

rs/cw (dpa, KNA, AFP)

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