A number of German cities are no longer populated mainly by Germans — a trend that will increase in coming years.
Many thanks to JLH for translating this article from the Neue Zürcher Zeitung:
The Majority Population in German Cities is Facing Its End
by Michael Rasch
July 9, 2019
Frankfurt am Main, Offenbach, Heilbronn, Sindelfingen — in these and other cities, Germans with no immigration background are still the largest group, but are no longer an absolute majority. That affects West Germany more than the East, and cities more than non-urban areas.
As early as the 1980s, the Greens were propagating Multiculti — a multicultural society. Although it had already begun some time before, the very thought of it was hair-raising for some voters. This reality has been accentuated in recent decades. Although the phrase is somewhat out of style. Nowadays, we talk of diversity and mixed society. Meanwhile, the majority society is approaching its end in German cities. That means that Germans who have no immigration background (as defined by the Federal Office of Statistics) are no longer the statistical majority (>50%), but are just the largest of three groups, with foreigners and Germans with an immigration background.
Frankfurt is the Vanguard
The majority society has already ceased to exist in Frankfurt am Main. This is also true for some smaller cities like Offenbach (only 37% still native German), Heilbronn, Sindelfingen and Pforzheim, explains the immigration expert Jens Schneider, who does research at the University of Osnabrück. The same thing will happen soon in several other German cities. In early 2018, according to the city’s statistical yearbook, 46.9% were native Germans. Germans with immigration background were 23.6% and foreigners — 53.1% together. The proportion of native Germans has declined in recent decades. The 50% threshold was first crossed in 2015 with 48.8%. Schneider rejects putting Germans with immigration background and foreigners in the same pot, and, like many of his colleagues, advocates revising the categories. The concept of immigration background gives a false impression. In fact, ca. two thirds of all children of Germans with immigration background (including children of foreigners) are born in Germany. They are therefore German and would often have the prospect of a much better professional career than their parents.
There Is No More Majority Society
By present reckoning, Frankfurt a.M. is probably the only major city where the majority society has flipped, with Germans with an immigration background and foreigners at 53.1%. According to the “Intercultural Integration Report of 2017” of the city of Munich, Nuremberg (44.6%), Stuttgart (44.1%), Munich (43.2%) and Düsseldorf (40.2%) also show high percentages of foreigners and Germans with immigration background.
Strong Economy Attracts Immigrants
In Stuttgart, that percentage is now 46%. According to the press office of the capital city of Baden-Württemberg, almost 60% of under-18 residents of Stuttgart have an immigration background (including foreigners). The entire relationship will change in coming years, so that there will no longer be an ethnically defined majority. This is already the case in other communities.
It is almost exclusively West German and some South German cities that are affected. This may be because of the economic power of the South and the related need for labor. At any rate, there are also a number of cities where the proportion of these groups is considerably less. They tend to be in the East and North of Germany. In Hannover and Berlin, for instance, it is only ca. 30%, in Kiel 24%, in Potsdam 12% and in Dresden 11% (figures from end of 2016). Before unification, the East German states had very little immigration, and this is reflected in today’s numbers.
Definition of Immigration Background
According to the Federal Statistical Office a person has immigration background if that person or at least one parent was not born a German citizen. The definition comprises the following individuals: 1) foreigners whether immigrants or not; 2) naturalized citizens, whether immigrants or not; 3) (recent) ethnic re-settlers; and 4) progeny of the first three groups born with German citizenship. There are slightly different definitions in some federal states.
If we look at the entire area of the Federal Republic, Germany in 2017 had 81.7 million residents, among them 62.5 million Germans without an immigration background (76.5%). Nationally, Germans without immigration background will remain an absolute majority for the foreseeable future. Germans with immigration background will reach 12.5% (9.8 million) of the entire population, and foreigners 11.9% (9.4 million). Here too, the declining proportional trend of Germans without immigration background could continue. Among children from 0 to 10 years old, the proportion of Germans without immigration background is easily 60%; among 10 to 15-year-olds, 64%.
Germans Continue to be the Absolute Majority
The two groups — Germans with immigration background and foreigners — are quite heterogeneous. First after WWII came the expelled ethnic Germans. Then, as early as 1955, the federal Republic concluded the first recruitment agreement with Italy and countries such as Spain and Portugal, as Schneider says.
Immigration was a steady stream. The first European work immigrants were followed by especially Turks, but also Moroccans and South Koreans. After that came the late-returning expellees from the former Soviet Union, returning to the land of their forefathers, as well as refugees from the Balkans during the war there. Because of the freedom of personal movement in the European Union, Germany drew many people from other member states, not least Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria. The refugee wave in the middle of this decade provided a further growth of the group of foreigners.
A Phenomenon in All of Europe
Cities like Frankfurt am Main with majorities of minorities are not at all a German phenomenon. In American metropolises, this has been a familiar thing for many years. In Europe, too, there are cities such as Amsterdam, Brussels or London, where there is no longer a majority of original residents. In Amsterdam, Netherlanders with no immigration background have been a minority since 2011. Moroccans there, at 9%, are the largest group of foreigners. Among children under 15 years of age, only one in three children is of pure Netherlands origin. In some of these cities, integration no longer takes place. In principle, living together is just organized, said Netherlands integration researcher Maurice Crul in a 2018 interview with “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.” Diversity is the new norm, which, to be sure, can lead to uncertainty in the majority society.
|1.||From formerly German-settled areas, now in other countries — sometimes legally expelled.
Hat tip: Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff.