Balkan Migrants in Germany Number 2.6 Million :: Balkan Insight


Migration has become a contentious and divisive topic in German politics. In the picture, Minister of Interior, Construction and Homeland Horst Seehofer presents his migration blueprint in June. Photo: Clemens Bilan, EPA. 

Over 2.6 million of the 19.3 million people in Germany with migrant backgrounds come from Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Kosovo, the latest census data from the German Federal Statistical Office, Destatis, show.

The report, published on 1 August, says that in 2017, a total of just over 19.3 million Germans had a migrant background – a rise of 4.4 per cent compared to the previous year.

The results are based on a microcensus carried out late last year. The report defines a migrant background as “if they … or at least one of their parents, were not born with German citizenship”.

Of the 2.6 million people with Balkan backgrounds, 859,000 have roots in Romania, 398,000 in Croatia and 273,000 in Bulgaria, amounting to 1.5 million migrants from the three newest EU member states.

Romanians have become the fifth largest minority in Germany, after Turks, Poles, Russians and Kazakhs, and comprise 4 per cent of the overall number of people of foreign descent.  

In addition, the data counted 373,000 Bosnians, 433,000 Kosovars and 324,000 Serbians in Germany, which make up over 1.1 million people from the three ex-Yugoslav states.

The statistical office lacks data about newcomers from any other non-EU Balkan states, apart from Turks, who number 2,777,000 people.

In 2017, about 51 per cent of the population with a migration background had acquired German citizenship, and about 49 per cent were foreigners, the statistics show.

In 2011, the proportion of foreigners in the migrant population was 42 per cent.

The report notes that, of the 19.3 million people in Germany with a migrant background, around 13.2 million were immigrants themselves.

“Since 2017, the microcensus has questioned these people about the main reason for immigration. The most important motive was family reasons,” the report says.

Most of the people who have moved from the Balkans are younger than average, the statistics show. The average age of people from these countries is between 28.4 years old – for Kosovars – up to 39.5 years old – for Croatians.

Bulgarians are the second youngest on average, at 30.2 years of age, while Serbians, Bosnians and Romanians are on average 38 years old. By comparison, the average age in Germany circa 2015 was 44 years and three months.

Over 1.8 million of the 2.6 million migrants are working age [15-64], with an additional half a million people being under 15, data show. Less than 300,000 are over 65.

Read more:

Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria Among EU’s Top Labour Exporters

Balkan Migrants – Social Problem or Straw Man for Germany?

Romanian Migrant Workers Leave 96,000 Children Behind

In Pictures: Exhibition Explores Pain and Joy of Migration


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