Father Roberto (right) and African Christians from the municipality of St. Kunigund in Nuremberg bring gifts to the altar. The church is an important centre of African life in Germany / Photo: Press Office of the Archbishopric of Bamberg

740,000 Africans and descendants live in Germany – Federal Statistics Office

The population of people of African origin in Germany has nearly doubled in only five years, according to new figures published on Tuesday by the Federal Statistics Office. Moreover, the number of people with an immigrant background in the country reached a new high of 18.6 million in 2016, an increase of 8.5 per cent compared to the previous year.

Figures from Germany’s Federal Statistics Office (Destatis) released on 1 August show that 18.6 million or over 22 per cent of the country’s population of 82.8 million are first or second generation immigrants.

Half of the 18.6 million with foreign roots have German nationality, including 5.1 million immigrants and 4.4 million who were born in the country, with at least one parent coming from abroad, is naturalized or is a repatriate (Spätaussiedler).

The other half of the migrant population are foreign-passport holders. Their number has grown from 4.9 million in 2011 to 7.6 million last year, an increase driven by the arrival of refugees mainly from Syria and Iraq in 2015 and 2016.

Europe remains the most important region of origin of the population with a migration background, but the importance of other continents has risen over the past five years.

Germany markets its increasing diversity: A poster of the promotion campaign ‘Make-it-in-Germany’ of the federal government to attract highly-skilled immigrants to the country. More than one in five people (22.5 per cent) in the country have foreign roots / Photo: Bundesregierung

Meanwhile, 2.3 million people have their roots in the Middle East. This is an increase of almost 51 per cent compared to 2011. Immigration from Africa is also gaining in importance. Around 740,000 people are of African descent, which is a good 46 per cent more than in 2011. Turkey with 3 million is still by far the most important country of origin.

The data of the Federal Statistics Office derived from a micro census, the largest household survey in Germany, also show differences in the level of education of young people with a migration background and native Germans. In the ‘25 to under-35’ age group, people with an immigration background are much more likely to leave school without certificates (9 per cent) than those without a migrant background (two per cent). In addition, migrants are much more likely to be unemployed (32 per cent versus 9 per cent).

On the other hand, both groups attain the High School Leaving Certificate or Abitur (37 per cent) and also academic degrees (27 per cent) to the same extent. Among people with a migration background, those who were born abroad have disproportionately no school and vocational qualifications compared to those who were born in Germany.

Femi Awoniyi

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