57 members of Germany’s new parliament have a migration background

Research of the MEDIENDIENST has found that 57 members of the newly-elected German Parliament have a migration background. This corresponds to 8 per cent of the members of Parliament – a slightly higher ratio than 2013. They were born or have at least one parent born as a foreigner. However, 22.5 per cent of the German population has a migration background.

According to preliminary electoral results the Bundestag will have 709 members. Research of the MEDIENDIENST shows that 57 MPs have a so-called migration background. The term migration background was created for statistical purposes in Germany. A person has a migrant background if the person or at least one parent was born as a foreigner.

Cem Özdemir (right), co-leader of the Greens pictured here with Aminata Touré during a campaign event in Neumünster, was re-elected as well on 24 September. The politician of Turkish origin has been a member of the German parliament since 2008. There were only two MPs with Turkish background in 2008, there’re 14 in the new parliament / Photo: Cem Özdemir on Facebook


Percentage of members with a migrant background in the parliamentary groups:

  • The Left: 18.8 percent
  • The Greens: 14.9 percent
  • Social Democratic Party (SPD): 9.8 percent
  • Alternative for Germany (AfD): 7.5 percent
  • Free Democratic Party (FDP): 6.3 percent
  • Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU): 2.9 percent.

More than one third of all MPs with a migrant background have their roots in the member countries of the European Union. The number of members of Parliament with Turkish migrant background has grown from eleven to 14. North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg are sending 13 members with migrant background respectively. These are the two biggest groups, followed by Lower Saxony with eight MPs.

Comparison to the 2013 election

The Left and the Greens had the highest percentage of members with migrant background in the last Bundestag, followed by the SPD. The CDU/CSU came last. All in all, the rate of members of Parliament with migrant background grew from 5.9 per cent in 2013 to 8 per cent in 2017.

The number of MPs with a migrant background had already increased significantly from 2009 to 2013. In 2009 only 21 members of Parliament had a migrant background. In 2013 there were already 37. However, persons with a migrant background are still underrepresented in the German Parliament as 22.5 per cent of the German population were born or have at least one parent born as a foreigner.

About the research

The MEDIENDIENST asked parliamentary groups, federal and regional electoral offices as regarding the number of candidates with a migrant background. As a whole parties don’t keep a record of migrant backgrounds. Thus, most of the press offices of the parties weren’t able or willing to share that information. For recently elected members of Parliament the MEDIENDIENST took into account websites, speeches, interviews and other media coverage. In cases of uncertainty the new MPs were contacted directly.
The MEDIENDIENST makes no claim that their list of members of the German Parliament with a migration background is complete. The detailed results (in German) can be found here.

Authors: Lea Hoffmann and Fabio Ghelli
Translation: Felix Böhmer and Robert Zenker

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