Immigrants in Germany are better integrated than was the case a decade ago, researchers have found. While most German residents with foreign roots have become part of society, a small group feels like they don’t belong.
Most immigrants in Germany view integration as important but also wish to maintain their own culture, according to a new study from the VHW, a German association focused on housing and city development.
“The large majority views itself as a wholly self-evident part of society,” researchers found of the roughly 19 million people with a migrant-background living in Germany.
In contrast to 10 years ago, immigrants showed a strong desire for upward mobility at the same time as they clung to their own roots and traditions. The study found that those who have more contact with Germans feel a stronger bond to the country, speak the language better and are less religious.
The second “Migrant Milieu” study examined the values, attitudes and everyday needs of over 2,000 immigrants and children of immigrants, including refugees.
The study, which took place a decade after the first edition, identified 10 social milieus in which people with foreign roots share similar values, attitudes, orientation and everyday lives. The study found people in different milieus were integrated differently in German society.
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The four biggest segments were modern creatives (including intellectual cosmopolitans and performers), bourgeois mainstream, “traditional” workers and precarious. Consumer-hedonistic, adaptive-pragmatic and experimental milieus were also identified.
Religion important for a minority
While religion was only considered important in seven of the 10 milieus the researchers identified, it was becoming stronger. The relatively small group of religiously-rooted immigrants — estimated to be around 900,000 — were more likely to feel isolated and inclined to withdraw from society.
Immigrants who were more traditionally oriented felt a stronger bond to the culture they came from than to German culture compared to immigrants polled 10 years ago. German culture remained foreign to many of them and some rejected Western values. Overall, immigrants adhered to traditional roles, while that had begun to change among the young as it has in the general population.
Two-thirds of the respondents experienced discrimination in Germany, and there was a greater sense that immigrants were at a disadvantage in the labour and housing market as well as in official dealings.