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2011 Census: just under a quarter of foreigners originate from Turkey

WIESBADEN – There are just under 6.2 million foreigners in Germany. On census reference date 9 May 2011, Turks accounted for the largest group (1.5 million people or 24.4%), followed by Italians (just under 490,000 people or 7.9%). The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) also reports that the number of inhabitants with Polish citizenship was roughly 380,000 (6.2%), those with Greek citizenship a good 250,000 (4.1%) and those with Croatian citizenship just under 210,000 (3.4%). These figures are based on the 2011 Census.

Already in May 2013, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) had released the fact that, on 9 May 2011, the number of inhabitants in Germany was by roughly 1.5 million lower than had been assumed up to that point in time on the basis of intercensal population updates. Final basic demographic data in a detailed subject-matter and regional breakdown have now also become available from the 2011 Census. These results are mainly based on data from the population registers, which have been adjusted in statistical terms. They can be used to do detailed analyses of the differences between the new data and the old structural data obtained from intercensal population updates.

Great differences in the regional distribution of the main groups of foreigners

The composition of the foreign population differs considerably between the Länder. While, on 9 May 2011, most Turks lived in Nordrhein-Westfalen (just under 510,000), their proportion within the total population was highest in Bremen (3.7%). Most Italians lived in Baden-Württemberg (155,000), whereas their share in the total population was largest in Saarland (1.6%). The number of inhabitant with Polish citizenship was highest in Nordrhein-Westfalen (almost 100,000), but their proportion within the total population was largest in Hamburg (1.1%). Most Greeks lived in Nordrhein-Westfalen (76,000) and Baden-Württemberg (63,000) and most Croatians in Baden-Württemberg (roughly 70,000).

Just under 4.3 million people had another citizenship in addition to the German one, according to the population register entries, with 690,000 of them having the Polish citizenship, 570,000 the Russian and 530,000 the Turkish citizenship. The proportion of persons who had another citizenship in addition to the German one was an average 6.1% in the old Länder including Berlin and 0.8% in the new Länder. In the old Länder (including Berlin), Bremen had the highest proportion of this population group within the total population (8.5%) and Schleswig-Holstein the lowest (3.2%). The highest percentage in the new Länder was determined for Sachsen (1.0%), the lowest for Thüringen (0.6%).

New figures on the marital status

With the final census results on the marital status being available now, the previous figures from intercensal population updates regarding this issue have been revised. While, based on the previous population figures, the percentage of single persons was assumed to be roughly 42.1%, the 2011 Census showed a rate of just under 40.0%, that is, about 2.1 percentage points less. For married persons, the new percentage of 45.7% is by slightly more than 2.9 percentage points higher. The proportion of widowed persons (7.2%) remained roughly unchanged and the share of divorced people has been corrected by the census by 0.9 percentage points to 7.1%. The results of the 2011 Census also provide stock data on registered same-sex partnerships. They show that slightly over 68,000 persons lived in registered partnerships.

Population by marital status - comparing the 2011 Census with the intercensal population updates
Marital statusPopulation
Intercensal population updatesCensusIntercensal population updates Census

Difference Census - Intercensal population updates

31 December 201009 May 201131 December 201009 May 2011
numberper centpercentage points
1 No figures in intercensal population updates.
Registered partnership168,2680.090.09
Registered partnership deceased11,3500.000.00
Registered partnership annulled15,5310.010.01
Not specified114,8740.020.02

The new population data do not show a new picture of the age structure

According to the final data of the 2011 Census on the individual age cohorts, which are now available, almost all percentages of men and women in the single years of age between 18 and 45 are slightly lower than the relevant percentages obtained from the previous intercensal population updates. On the whole, however, the new population data have not seriously changed the picture of the age structure of Germany's population.

This also means that the relations between the population at working age (people between 20 and 64 years) and the groups of the population below or above working age have not shifted significantly. According to the results of the 2011 Census, there were 30.3 persons under 20 years per 100 persons at working age (youth dependency ratio) and 33.8 persons aged 65 years or over (old-age dependency ratio) in the whole of Germany on 9 May 2011. Based on the population figures from the previous intercensal population updates (annual average of 2011), a youth dependency ratio of 30.0 and an old-age dependency ratio of 33.8 had been calculated. The total dependency ratio was 64.1 on census reference date. This means that there are 64.1 persons outside working age (those under 20 and those aged 65 or over) per 100 persons at working age (those between 20 and 64 years). The total dependency ratio calculated on the basis of the number of inhabitants that was obtained from official intercensal population updates and was valid until 9 May 2011 had been 63.8.

Graph on the age structure of the population (PDF, 401KB, file not barrier free)

More information on the final results on the migrant background, educational level and employment of the population, the data on household and family structures and the final results of the 2011 census of buildings and housing is expected to become available in May 2014.

On the website of the Federal Statistical Office and at, charts and comprehensive tables are available for download, providing the main basic demographic data of the census in a partly detailed regional breakdown.

For further information:
Bernd Michel,
tel: +49 611 75 2386
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