The share of people with a migrant background in Germany rose to 21.2 million last year, the Federal Statistical Office said in a report on Tuesday. They represent roughly 26% of Germany's population.
The figure represented a 2.1% increase from the previous year, but it was the slowest rise in people with a migration background since 2011.
In Germany, a person is considered to have a ''migration background'' (Migrationshintergrund) if they, or at least one of their parents, were born without German citizenship. Being born in Germany is not an automatic qualification for citizenship as in some countries, although in the majority of cases, eight years residence will suffice.
Of the 21.2 million people with a migrant background, just over half were born as German citizens, meaning at least one of their parents had become or was a German citizen.
Europeans form majority
Some 65% of all people with a migrant background came from another European country. Of these, roughly, 7.5 million (35%) people with migrant background came from a fellow EU member state.
Asians accounted for 4.6 million people or 22% of all inhabitants with a migrant background. Some 3.2 million (15%) came from the Middle East and just under 1 million people (5%) had roots in Africa. A little over half a million people (3%) came from North, Central and South America and Australia.
The largest single group, forming some 13% of people with a migrant background, originated from Turkey. Those from Poland and Russia followed respectively.
Location varied significantly, with a higher share of people with migrant backgrounds clustered in the west. The northwestern city-state of Bremen has the highest figures, with 36.5% of its total population having a migrant background. In contrast, the eastern state of Thuringia had only 7.8%.
Migrants still in demand
Petra Bendel, chairwoman of the Expert Council of German Foundations for Integration and Migration (SVR), said that Germany would continue to rely on migration for the foreseeable future, even in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Bendel said migration was the key to solving the problem of "demographic shrinkage of the population." Despite rising slightly in recent years, Germany has consistently had one of the world's lowest birth rates since the end of the second World War.
But the study also showed that, as migrants settle in Germany, many lagged behind the German population on high-paying jobs and qualifications.
"People with a migration background are clearly over-represented in cleaning jobs, warehousing, food production and care for the elderly," the SVR chairwoman said. "In the future we will continue to need more skilled workers."
jcg/msh (AP, AFP)