Some 16.4 million people with an immigrant background were living in Germany last year, amounting to 20.3 percent of the population or one in five people, according to the figures released on Monday by the German Federal Statistical Office.
That represents an increase of 3 percent over 2013, and of 10 percent in comparison with 2011.
Fifty-six percent of these people have a German passport, according to the office based in the central western city of Wiesbaden.
The report defines anyone who immigrated to Germany from 1950 onward and their descendants, along with foreign residents as having an immigrant background. People's nationality or nationalities do not play a role in defining whether they have an immigrant background.
Recent immigration wave
The increase results in large part from the growing number of foreigners coming to the country, with 10.9 million immigrants living in Germany in 2014 - the highest number since the count began in 2005.
In particular, there have been a rising number of immigrants from within the European Union.
At the same time, the number of people living in Germany who have no immigrant background has declined by 885,800 or 1.4 percent since 2011, the figures showed.
tj/sms (dpa, epd)