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The Situation of Migration/Integration in Germany and the Involvement of the IMA in this Field of Research

With a view on our job within the field of migration/integration the research of the Berlin Institute on the situation of integration in Germany were applied in the following.

Almost 15 million people from other countries line in Germany. This number also includes the offspring generations of these migrants who were born in Germany. Therefore approximately 20 percent of the inhabitants of Germany have a so-called migration background. The number of children is higher amongst migrants than among native Germans. As a result the size of this group is growing and will continue to grow, even if there were no further migration.

In the public eye these migrants are insufficiently integrated. This view is also frequently shared in the politic opinion. On average these migrants have poor education, are frequently unemployed and participate less in public life than the locals.

The largest share of people with a migration background - with nearly 4 million – is the group of new citizens from the states of the former Soviet Union. The Turks - with nearly 3 million people - are the second-largest ethnic group, although they are deemed the most important group in the public perception. Following are groups of migrants with an origin from the further EU-25 countries (without the South European guest worker generations), migrants from Southern Europe (from Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain), migrants from the former Yugoslavia and from Middle and Far East. Finally the smallest group of migrants originates from Africa.

The Turkish and African migrants are the youngest demographic groups They have the most children. Furthermore people from Africa migrate mostly as young people. Both groups are growing due to the huge number of children, whilst the number of natives has been decreasing for decades. Half of all people with a Turkish background have been born in Germany – this represents the highest percental level compared to other migrant groups. The offspring generation of Turkish migrants resembles the natives most.

It is not astonishing, that the migrants who are integrated best, come from the further states of the EU-25 (without Southern Europe). They mostly belong to the European migration elite. They easily find employment and are very well educated. On average their educational level is better than that of the native population.

Equally well integrated - in contrast to the public perception - is the large group of the “resettlers”, i.e. new citizens from the states of the former Soviet Union. Unfortunately there is little statistical information about this group because these migrants have immediately obtained a German passport upon arrival and did not have to identify statistically as migrants anymore. In the present study they are researched as an independent group for the first time. These “resettlers” came to Germany with a comparatively high educational level. They orientate themselves well on the job market. A lot of facts point out, that these migrants make active efforts to integrate well into the society. As a consequence the situation for the offspring generations has improved compared to that of their parents.

The migrant group from Southern Europe - mostly former guest workers and their children - frequently demonstrate low educational qualifications. Only the relatively small migrant population from Spain demonstrates a higher educational level. Despite these educational deficits the South Europeans have found an economical and social niche within German society. They are adequately employed and nowadays there are nearly no prejudices against this group. Due to increased labour migration of highly qualified people and of students the integration level improves.

The migrant group from Middle East and Far East are very heterogeneous.

Poorest integrated by far is the group with a Turkish background. Most of them have been living in Germany for a long time, but their geographical origin, mostly from the underdeveloped regions in the East of Turkey, has impact on their integration level. The former guest workers often came without any educational or training qualification to Germany. In consequence the offspring generation has shown low motivation to obtain good education. In comparison to the natives only half of the young Turks have university-entrance diplomas. In addition there is a high unemployment rate amongst the young Turks. One disadvantage of this group is their dimension. Because a large number of these migrants live in bigger towns, it is easy for them to stay among themselves. This fact makes it difficult especially for unemployed women to learn the German language. In consequence the children lack an important precondition for good integration. Also very seldom is a mixture between the Turks and the majority society. 93 percent of the in Germany born inhabitants with a Turkish background are married to someone from the same origin background. The result is a “parallel society”.

Integration works better in connection with a satisfying employment rate. Towns and regions with modern economies in the fields of services, banks, administration centres, research institutions and the media have considerable attractiveness to well educated migrants and at the same time create jobs for less educated migrants. Poor integration is a problem in rural areas with low qualified migrants. Bigger cities like Frankfurt, Dresden, Leipzig or Munich, in which larger populations of migrants are living, have better integration results. Overall in the whole of Germany the integration process is not satisfying. Even in federal states with the best results migrants are twice as often unemployed as the locals. Harmonization between the migrants and the natives has not come close to fulfilling the set targets.

The Institut für Migrations- und Aussiedlerfragen is involved in different ways in the different milieus of migrants, especially in the milieu of the new citizens from the states of the former Soviet Union. In our region, Ostwestfalen-Lippe, the biggest city Bielefeld has a migration rate of 29 percent and somes 13 in the German ranking.

The three central challenges are:

1.    fight against the poverty of children,

2.    reducing the educational discrimination and

3.    strengthen the existing unused potentials.

Sources of information: Bertelsmann-Stiftung, Bosch-Stiftung, Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, Berlin-Institut, Bundesinstitut für Bevölkerungsforschung.

Oerlinghausen, 30th, November 2010
Dr. Johannes Stefan Müller