Just The Facts

Germany: Second Largest Foreign-Born Population

The U.S. still leads by a lot, but Germany holds second-place in the number of foreign-born residents.

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  • United States has 46.7 million foreign-born residents, constituting 14% of the country’s total population.
  • Germany’s foreign-born population has recently become the second-largest in absolute numbers in the world.
  • Back in 1990, the newly reunited Germany was home to 5.9 million immigrants. Since then, it has more than doubled.

1. Following the government’s decision to accept nearly a million refugees in 2015, Germany’s already sizeable immigrant population rose to a total of 12 million – or 15% of the country’s total population.

2. In absolute numbers, Germany’s foreign-born population is the second-largest in the world.

3. Back in 1990, when East Germany merged back into West Germany, the newly reunited country was home to just 5.9 million immigrants.

4. Germany’s foreign-born population has doubled since 1990.

5. The United States is the country with the largest immigrant population in terms of absolute numbers in the world.

6. The U.S. has 46.7 million foreign-born residents, constituting 14% of the country’s total population (as of 2015).

7. That is nearly four times as many foreign-born residents as Germany.

8. Less than one-quarter (24%) of the U.S. foreign-born population – 11.1 million in 2014 – is in the country without legal residency status.

9. While Germany’s 12 million rank a distant second to the United States, it narrowly holds second place – just ahead of third-ranked Russia with 11.6 million foreign-born residents, fourth-ranked Saudi Arabia with 10.2 million foreign-born residents and fifth-ranked UK has 8.5 million foreign-born residents.

10. Back in 2000, Germany ranked third, with Russia ranking second and India ranking fourth.

Source: Pew Research Center

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