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A photo of young people in Germany
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

A diverse Germany

December 18, 2012

One out of every eight residents of Germany is foreign-born, said the National Statistics Office (Destatis) on International Migrants Day. After a slight decline, immigration is again on the rise in the country.


Around 10.7 million migrants from 194 countries live in Germany, Destatis said on Tuesday.

The majority of Germany's immigrants, some 7.4 million, come from within Europe. Of those, nearly half come from EU member states.

The countries of origin for most immigrants in Germany are former states of the Soviet Union, with 2.4 million people. Turkey is second with 1.4 million people, followed by Poland with 1.1 million.

The numbers from Destatis come on International Migrants Day, a United Nations-recognized day that began more than a decade ago to highlight migrants around the world.

On the rise

After a slight decline, the number of immigrants is on the rise again. Since 2011, some 550,000 people have immigrated to Germany, with 300,000 of those coming in the first half of 2012.

Around 1.4 million immigrants have lived in Germany for more than 40 years, while more than half (5.9 million) arrived between 1990 and 2010.

The reasons for people to come to Germany has changed over the years. In the 1960's and 70's, most came with their families as part of the "Gastarbeiterprogramm," a formal guest worker program designed to increase Germany's labor force in the post-war years.

In the 80's, the majority came seeking asylum. Many of those who came between 1990 and 2010 were ethnic Germans from former communist countries.

In recent years, many people have relocated to Germany fleeing war and civil war, coming from the Balkans, North Africa and the Middle East.

dr/hc (dpa, dapd)

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