We cannot deny that Europe is changing. Our cultures and traditions that we hold so dear are being watered down as the years go by; instead being replaced by forced theories of “diversity” and “tolerance” and “inclusion”. Germany perhaps lies at the heart of this. It is the largest country in the EU with a population of 80 million and is headed up by the “de facto” leader of the EU herself; Angela Merkel.
Merkel may be loved and scorned in equal measures but there is something we cannot deny: her power. Merkel was awarded Time’s ‘Person of the Year’ in 2015 and she regularly features in Forbe’s lists of ‘The World’s Most Powerful People’. Let’s not forget that she’s also the longest-serving head of government in the European Union.
In this article, I will present an overview of Merkel’s recent policies and look at how immigration and disproportionate fertility rates have changed the face of Germany over the last seven decades.
Let’s Talk About Merkel’s “September Fairytale”…
September 2015; the month of Merkel’s historic decision to open Germany’s borders to more than 10,000 refugees who were stranded in Hungary. What followed was a promise by Merkel that there would be “no limit” to the number of asylum seekers that Germany would take in. News travelled fast and during the remaining months of 2015, hundreds of thousands of migrants entered the country.
“Wir schaffen das” or “we can do it/we’ll make it” became Merkel’s catchphrase, and this period of mass open door immigration became known as “Merkel’s Legacy”.
Asylum Seeker, Refugee or Migrant?
The difference between these classifications is as follows:
- An asylum seeker is someone who has left their home country and has applied for refugee status in another country, but their claim has not yet been approved or declined.
- A refugee is someone who has fled conflict, persecution and/or war and it is considered unsafe for them to return to their home country.
- A migrant is a broader term which refers to someone who chooses to move from their home country to another country, in order to live in their destination country for at least a year. There are many reasons why someone may become a migrant. It may be because, as with the above examples, they are fleeing conflict. Alternatively, it may be for work or education reasons (these people are also known as an “economic migrants”) or family reasons, or they may simply seek out a better life.
Not all asylum seekers will be granted refugee status, but all refugees were once asylum seekers.
Merkel’s “September Fairytale” resulted in 2015 being a record breaking year for Germany in terms of immigration. Germany’s statistic office recorded the highest number of immigrants to the country in post-war history (1.1 million is the net figure for the year). Net immigration increased by 49% compared with the previous year (the net figure for 2014 was 550,000), and for the first time in German history, most of the migrants were not from Europe.
Immigration in Germany
September 2015 was certainly a historic moment in Germany’s history of immigration. But how did immigration figures look before then?
Before we consider this, we need to consider the overall population of Germany as immigration figures are clearly expected to increase as the overall population of Germany (and the world) does too. The population of Germany in 1900 was around 56 million. By 1950, this figure had risen to 68 million. The current population of Germany is around 80 million. This means, over the last 117 years, the population of Germany has increased by around 205,000 people per year on average.
According to Destatis, Germany’s Federal Statistical Office, the following immigration figures apply:
1950 Net Migration: +17,992
2010 Net Migration: +127,677
2015 Net Migration: +1,139,402
As we can see from the figures above, there was a drastic jump in net migration figures in 2015. This is a figure that has gradually built up memento since 2010; the biggest leap being the above-mentioned 49% increase between 2014 and 2015.
A History of German Immigration
Prior to the 1950s, there were very few ethnic minorities in Germany. Due to a severe shortage of workers in Germany following World War 2, a ‘Gastarbeiter’ (‘Guest Workers’) scheme was established in order to bring in more people. The majority of these workers came from Turkey. Continuing into the 1950s and 1960s, Germany extended this idea and created a recruitment agreement called ‘Abkommen über Anwerbung und Vermittlung von Arbeitskräften’ (‘Agreement on the Recruitment and Placement of Workers’) to attract workers from Italy, Greece, Spain, Turkey, Morocco, Portugal, Tunisia and Yugoslavia.
Between the years 1955 and 1973, the number of ‘Guest Workers’ in Germany grew from around 100,000 to approximately 2.5 million.
Germany suffered an economic crisis in 1966-67 which led to heated debates in the country about the influx of foreign workers. A recruitment ban (‘Anwerbestopp’) was set up in 1973 which blocked the entry of ‘Guest Workers’ from countries that weren’t a member of the European Economic Community. Although the initial idea of the ‘Guest Workers’ scheme was for workers to only stay in Germany for three-year shifts and then return to their home country; family reunification rights were introduced in Germany in 1974. This allowed Turkish workers to bring their families to Germany. Between 1974 and 1988, the number of Turks in Germany doubled; their average age being well below the average age of native German citizens.
Immigration remained modest in Germany in the early 1980s, however there was a rapid influx in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The collapse of the Soviet Union (1991), the wars in former Yugoslavia (1980s – 1990s) and issues surrounding human rights in Turkey spurred these arrivals, and by the beginning of the 21st century, there were around 9 million non-native Germans in Germany, making up around 12% of the population.
Germany introduced dual-citizenship in the year 2000 which allowed children born in Germany to foreign-born parents to now be classified as “German”. This was a very significant moment in the discussion around German citizenship because, before this moment, it was only possible to be considered German through hereditary links. Since this event, children in Germany can now be legally classified as “German” simply by being born there. Once reaching adulthood, each person with dual-citizenship must choose one of his/her nationalities to keep long term.
In 2005 (Merkel’s first year as Chancellor of Germany), a new immigration law came into effect. With this law, Germany declared itself a country of immigration and promised to promote “humanitarian immigration” and “integration” from this point on. The Muslim population was widespread in Germany by this point due to the influx of Turkish migrants over the past 50 years. Because of this, in 2006, Germany held an Islam Summit to help aid the integration of Germany’s Muslim population.
The population of Germany who have a migrant background has grown at a steady rate since the millennium. In 2005, around 19% of the German population had a migrant background. In 2011, this figure rose to 19.5% of the population, and in 2013, it rose again to 20.5% of the population.
This brings us to the present day, and the figures of Merkel’s Legacy which are listed above. So what does the ethnic breakdown of Germany look like today?
Ethnicity in Present Day Germany
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, Germans made up 88.2% of the population in the year 2000. 3.4% of non-Germans were Turks and 5.5% of non-Germans were classified as ‘other’. This is a very different picture of the Germany we knew before the 1950s where there were very few non-native Germans living in the country.
The last official figures (from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany) regarding ethnicity in Germany took place in 2011 and are as follows:
Population of Germany: 80.2 million
German citizens: 92.3% of total population
Foreign nationals: 7.7% of the population
The figures can then be broken down even further so that we can get an idea of what percentage of Germany’s population are native Germans.
German citizens with no migrant background: 80% of total population
German citizens with migrant background: 12.3% of the population
Foreign nationals: 7.7% of the population
Just to clarify the above terminology, a German citizen with a migrant background is classified by the Federal Statistical Office as the following:
“The population group with a migration background consists of all persons who have immigrated into the territory of today’s Federal Republic of Germany after 1949, and of all foreigners born in Germany and all persons born in Germany who have at least one parent who immigrated into the country or was born as a foreigner in Germany.”
As we can see from the diagram below, around one in five people in Germany are either of foreign nationality or they have a migrant background.
Germany’s Growing Muslim Population
Apart from ethnicity, another thing that we should keep an eye on is the growth of Germany’s Muslim population. We know that countries such as Turkey and Syria are majority Muslim countries, so we can highlight a clear correlation between immigration figures and Muslim population growth.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, Sunni Muslims made up 4.3% of the population of Germany in 2005, although this figure is likely to be higher, as 7% of nationals are also identified as “other”.
There were an estimated 1000 Muslims in Germany in the year 1920, making up only 0.01% of the population. This figure stayed very similar over the course of the next thirty years and throughout World War 2. In 1951, there were 20,000 Muslims in Germany, making up just 0.03% of the population. This figure increased to 1.5% (1,150,000 people) during Germany’s ‘Guest Workers’ period of the 1950s – 1970s.
The chart provided below by the International Journal of Environmental Science and Development shows the rapid growth in Germany’s Muslim population from the 1950s to the present day. As we can see from the figures provided, the Muslim population of Germany is growing at a rapid rate.
According to Pew Research Center, the number of Muslims is expected to grow even more so over the next decade. Pew estimates that Muslims made up around 5% (4,119, 000 people) of Germany’s population in 2010. This figure is expected to grow to 7.1% (5,545,000 people) by 2030. This will bring an estimated 1,426,000 new Muslims to the country.
Immigration is clearly a hugely important contributing factor if we look at the changing face of Germany’s population, but we mustn’t forget the impact that disproportionate fertility rates has too.
Fertility Rates in Germany
We have touched on how fertility rates affect the ethnic make up of countries in the previous two articles in this series. As with France and the UK; the same goes with Germany.
Even if we stopped immigration to Germany, native German people would still see their overall percentage of the population fall as they aren’t producing enough children to keep their population at a steady number.
The fertility rate required for a population to stay the same is 2.1 children per woman. This number is slightly over 2 children for 2 parents to make up for the fact that more boys are born (105 boys to 100 girls) and to counteract mortality rates.
The birth rate in Germany is currently at 1.5, which is well below the recommended required figure of 2.1. This figure of 1.5 isn’t just for native German people either. It also includes “German” citizens of foreign-born parents who gained their German citizenship because they were born there. Bearing this in mind, native Germans aren’t producing anywhere near enough children for their population to stay at a steady number.
To add more fuel to the fire, the fertility rate of the non-native people that also live in the country is above the recommended figure of 2.1. Fertility rates for Muslim families ranges from 2.1 to 5.2 depending on which country they originate from.
It is easy to see looking at these figures how native Germans are declining in numbers and non-native Germans are growing in numbers.
Taking into account all the information presented above about immigration and fertility rates, we can see how over the past 70 years, Germany has changed from a country with very few ethnic minorities, to a country where approximately one in five people are either of foreign nationality or they have a migrant background.
Why Does This Matter?
Let’s be realistic for a moment and consider that our new arrivals come from countries that have a different way of life to ours. You cannot pick a person up from a far away continent, who has a different culture, language and religion to you, and drop them in your country and expect them to just adopt your ways. It doesn’t work like that.
Each country on our planet has it’s own unique culture. If migrants can’t arrive in a new country and adopt their new country’s culture (which they aren’t doing), what happens instead? We end up with segregation between the new arrivals and the country’s native citizens.
We will touch on the impact of The Great Replacement in some depth in the last part of this series, but let’s consider Germany very briefly for one moment and look at some of the results of their open door policy.
As the percentage of Germany’s native people is decreasing and the percentage of Germany’s migrant population is increasing; Honour crimes are on the up, knife-related crimes are surging, migrant rape is out of control, and let’s not forget the outburst of terror attacks that Germany has suffered in recent years.
It is estimated that around 30% of migrants claiming to be from Syria aren’t, and the German government has also admitted that they have lost track of about 13% of their asylum seekers. Horst Seehofer (the leader of CSU; Merkel’s sister party) has criticised Merkel’s open door policies by suggesting that: “We’re now in a state of mind without rules, without system and without order because of a German decision.”
Unbelievably though, none of this matters according to Germany’s Integration Commissioner who claims that German culture does not exist anyway and “diversity is the nation’s strength”.
Merkel has famously said over the years that “Islam is part of Germany” although she does appear to have done a slight U-turn recently; admitting to past mistakes and vowing not to repeat “last year’s situation”.
Let’s not forget that there’s an election coming up though.