Immigration – How does Germany Compare to the US?
In a 2014 OECD ranking, Germany was the second most popular migration destination in the world, just after the United States. But how does Germany compare to the US in term of immigration?
The United States is on the campaign trail and the Republican candidate has demonstrated great xenophobia. Yet 43 million or 13.1% of Americans are a product of immigration.
In 1910, Germany was the top birth nationality among US immigrants. The United States is very much still the Promised Land, and today almost 50 million Americans claim to have German origins.
But did you know that immigrants make up 10% of the German population? Or that one German in five has a foreign heritage?
Who are the Immigrants in Germany?
The First Wave of Immigration – 12 Million Repatriated After WWII
After its defeat in the Second World War, Germany lost a lot of territory. The first wave of immigration came from the territories that now form much of today’s Poland.
What was different about them? They were classified as immigrants in the statistics even though they belonged to a separate group. In fact they were actually “Aussiedler”, a German term used to describe repatriated ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe. At the end of the war, 12 million people took refuge in Germany.
The Second Wave – 4 Million Economic Immigrants in the 1960s
During the German economic miracle of the 1960s, 4 million people entered the country to work in its metallurgical factories, the automotive industry and its coal mines. During that time, immigrants came from Turkey, Greece, Portugal and Yugoslavia.
The Third Wave – 1.1 Million after the End of the Cold War
Between 1988 and 2000, some 1.1 million ethnic Germans came back to Germany. These were delayed resettlers, finally able to leave the Warsaw Pact countries after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In Germany, they are called the “Spät-Aussiedler”.
The Fourth Wave – 1.1 million Asylum Seekers from the Middle East and Other Countries
The civil war in Syria has forced millions to leave their country. In 2014 and 2015, many took the Balkan route to reach Western Europe. Nationals from other countries fleeing the Islamic State, the Taliban or for economic reasons joined them. In 2015, Germany welcomed 1.1 million refugees.
Requests in 2015 for asylum in the member states of the European Union and the entire European Free Trade Association, according to Eurostat. Source: Wikipedia
Immigration in Germany Today
– In 2015, one German in five has an immigration background
– 8.2 million people are immigrants, which is 10.1% of the population. By comparison, the United States has 13.1%.
– Before the 2015 migration crisis, most immigrants came from the European Union.
– Over the years, immigrants in Germany come mostly from Turkey, Poland and Italy.
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