Cologne- In the nineties of the last century and after the rise of the Nazi tide affected by the German unification, foreigners in Germany formed “eight percent” organization to express their proportion in the German society.
Since then, this rate rose to 14% in 2005 and, currently, has reached 21%, according to the Federal Statistical Office.
Germany’s society is the most multicultural it has ever been, as the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) said Friday that a total of 17.1 million people in the country had a migrant background in 2015.
Destatis said about one-in-five people, or 21% of the total population had a migrant background last year—meaning the person or at least one parent didn’t have German citizenship at birth.
Destatis reported that this was a 4.4% increase compared with 2014.
The data reflect Germany’s economic strength and, in parts, its liberal asylum regime, as more asylum seekers than ever before entered Europe’s largest economy last year.
The results of the 2015 micro-census also highlighted the 82 major challenges the government faces in integrating the new arrivals, many of whom can’t speak the language or lack basic schooling.
In 2015, 11.5 million immigrants lived in Germany, which was an increase of 5.5% on the preceding year.
Again, all these migrant German foreigners come from Turkish, Poland and Russian roots.
The average age of the migrant background population was lower than the average for the rest of Germany’s residents.
Some 33 percent of people under the age of 18 living in Germany had a migrant background as did 36 percent of children under five, while this applied to 10 percent of those over 65.
On the other hand, Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble defended Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door migrant policy on Thursday and urged her conservatives to stop bickering over the issue ahead of Sunday’s Berlin city vote.
A battle over migration between Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), has escalated since the CDU suffered a heavy election defeat in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern this month.
Merkel’s decision a year ago to open German borders has hit her popularity and is again dominating campaigning ahead of Sunday’s election in Berlin, boosting support for the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
Germany took in around a million migrants last year – an influx that hurt Merkel and raised questions about whether she will even run for a fourth term in 2017.
“So far, there is no one in Germany who has received one euro less for his family or his children because refugees have come here,” Schaeuble, Germany’s longest-serving lawmaker, told television station ZDF in an interview.
Schaeuble accused the AfD of fueling fears. “We haven’t cut one euro, people are just talked into believing this,” he said.
“The burqa is not the biggest problem in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern,” he added of the state, where unemployment is running at 11 percent, far above the national average of just over 6 percent.
Schaeuble said the debate over migration was fueling anxiety in Germany.