From file: Germany is becoming increasingly diverse | Photo: Valentina Barreto/Westend61/imago images
From file: Germany is becoming increasingly diverse | Photo: Valentina Barreto/Westend61/imago images

The number of people in Germany with a so-called migration background continues to rise. A government report noted changes due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest government figures reveal that in 2021, the number of people living in Germany with a so-called migration background stood at 27.3%.

According to the federal government's migration report, that’s an increase of 0.6% compared to 2020. 

Read more: Germany: Generous welfare attracts migrants, says opposition leader

Definition of migration background

For the purposes of this report, the government defines people with a migration background as residents of Germany who were either not born as German citizens themselves or who have at least one parent who has not held German citizenship since birth.

According to the report, just under two-thirds of those accounted for in the report are immigrants themselves.

More than half of the people with a migration background residing in Germany are also German citizens. The report did not specify how many of those people were naturalized as German citizens, and how many had German citizenship from birth through at least one parent being a German citizen.

Read more: Germany's dual citizenship reforms 'way overdue'

German passports are among most powerful in the world to have | Photo: Winfried Rothermel/picture alliance
German passports are among most powerful in the world to have | Photo: Winfried Rothermel/picture alliance


Record number of naturalizations

According to the government report, the number of naturalizations in 2021 was at an all-time high, with a total of 131,595 people becoming German citizens that year.

However, the government stressed that in part, this high number was to be attributed to authorities having to catch up on naturalizations after the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when due to the many restrictions placed on public life, only around 110,000 people managed to obtain citizenship. 

The report also highlighted that in 2021, people from other European countries led the list of naturalizations, with around 63,000 people from other European countries obtaining a German passport that year.

This was followed by people who had come to Germany from Asian countries, with around 47,000 Asians being granted German citizenship in 2021.

Read more: Are they welcome? How Africans experience Germany

Germany - a destination for immigrants

In 2021, the largest share of new immigrants to Germany also came from other European countries, while around 531,000 people moved from countries outside the EU.

Around 82,000 people said they came to Germany for family-related reasons, while around 34,500 people came to study. The report also said that 40,400 people had moved to Germany in 2021 because of a job offer. 

In addition, around 148,000 first-time applications for asylum were submitted in Germany in 2021.

Read more: Germany: Number of asylum seekers receiving state benefits rises

Net migration numbers

The report stressed that migration to Germany was on the up once more following travel restrictions and lockdowns during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic the previous year.

According to the report, net migration rose again in Germany in 2021 after hitting a low in the first pandemic year, 2020. In 2021, the figure stood at around 329,000 while in 2020, it had dipped to 220,000. 

In terms of the balance of inflows and outflows in the net migration figure, around 1.3 million people moved to Germany in 2021, while around one million people left the country, according to the report.

Read more: Is Germany attractive enough for qualified workers?

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