One in three people in Germany ‘will have migrant background in 20 years’

In the next two decades, every third person in Germany will have migrant roots or be a migrant themselves, according to experts.

One in three people in Germany 'will have migrant background in 20 years'
Germany is struggling to attract skilled workers like this one in in Fürstenwalde, Brandenburg. Photo: DPA

By 2040, about 35 percent of Germany's population will have a migrant background or be a migrant themselves, according to Herbert Brücker, who is in charge of the migration research department at the Federal Institute for Employment Research (IAB).

Brücker told Germany daily Welt on Monday that the country “will become more diverse”.

He said: “Currently, about a quarter of the people in Germany have a migrant background. In 20 years, it will be at least 35 percent, but could also be more than 40 percent.”

He said in large cities the proportion of migrants will climb to 70 percent.

Brücker said currently in Frankfurt “every second person there already has a migration background”.

“In Berlin the figure is about 35 percent,” he said.  “What we see in the big cities today will be normal for the country as a whole in the future. And in a city like Frankfurt, we'll have between 65 and 70 percent immigrants.”

Someone is considered to have a migrant background if they or at least one parent was born without German citizenship.

READ ALSO: One in every four German residents now has migrant background

Brücker, who is also director of the Berlin Institute for Empirical Integration and Migration Research (BIM) at Humboldt University, said that it is would be wrong to assume that a “minority” of Germans will in future face a “majority” of immigrants.

The Germans will always remain by far the largest group in the country, he said. 

However, Germany will face a further shortage of skilled workers and will need to think of ways of luring people from other countries. 

As The Local has reported, Germany is introducing a new law which is set to ease immigration rules in a bid to attract foreign job seekers to fill vacancies.

READ ALSO: How Germany plans to fight worker shortage with new immigration law

According to IAB calculations, Germany will need 400,000 migrants per year up until 2060, so that the working population can remain steady.

“We are in competition with other countries when it comes to migration – both among the highly qualified and among the less qualified,” said Brücker.

According to the latest statistics for 2018, about a quarter of the people in Germany – one in four – have a migration background.

In 2018, approximately 20.8 million people in Germany had a migrant background. The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) said this was a 2.5 percent increase compared with a year earlier when the figure was 20.3 million.

READ ALSO:  'Germany's future depends on immigration and integration': Merkel

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TEST: Could you pass the German citizenship exam?

Obtaining German citizenship involves clearing numerous hurdles - including a multiple-choice citizenship test that will quiz you on your knowledge of German history, culture, geography and politics. Could you pass it?

TEST: Could you pass the German citizenship exam?

The German passport is one of the most powerful in the world – but getting your hands on one is no mean feat. 

Alongside strict residency and language requirements, people who want to become a naturalised German citizenship will have to sit an exam known as the Einbürgerungstest (Citizenship Test).

The exam is designed to ensure that migrants understand important aspects of Germany’s political system, like the rights enshrined in the constitution, and can deal with aspects of day to day life and culture in the Bundesrepublik.

READ ALSO: TEST: Is your German good enough for citizenship or permanent residency?

Additionally, there are usually questions on important milestones in German history such as the Second World War and the GDR, and you may encounter some geography questions and questions on the European Union as well. 

The test is in German and consists of 33 questions: 30 questions on Germany in general, and three related to the specific federal state you live in. 

It’s all in German, so people sitting the exam need to be fairly confident with their reading skills – but since it’s multiple choice, writing skills thankfully aren’t required. 

Though this may sound daunting, people are given a full hour to complete the test – and, anecdotally, most tend to finish much more quickly than that. You also only need to score 17 out of 33 (so just over 50 percent) to pass.

In addition, there are only a set number of questions that the Citizenship Test alternates between. You can find a list of all of them (in German) here, and also take a German-language practice test here.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How I got German citizenship – and how you can too

If you’d like to test your knowledge in English, however, we’ve put together a representative list of 16 questions to get you started. Viel Glück! (Good luck!)