The Berlin Spectator
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German is Language of Choice in Many Migrant Households

In Germany, German is the main language used in many migrant households. The Federal Office of Statistics released data, according to which German is predominantly being spoken in 56 percent of all households which include at least one person with an immigrant background. A person is part of that that category, if either he or she, or one of the individual’s parents, were born with a nationality other than German.

Whether or not German is the predominantly used language in a household, depends on the number of members with an immigrant background, the data show. In 89 percent of households in which only some of the members are immigrants, German is the main language. Things are different in households in which all members have an immigrant background. In only 40 percent of them, German is the main language.

The Statistics Office also came to the conclusion that the nationality of people living in a household is another aspect which determines whether German is being spoken as the main language or not. Among households with Syrian members only, 4 percent mainly speak German. That share was a lot higher, namely at 34 percent, in households with Turkish nationals only, or 50 percent in those with Russians only. Migrants from Kazakhstan speak German even more, because many ethnic German resettlers immigrated from there.

According to the study, which was released today, the duration of stay in Germany is another aspect which influences the main language spoken in immigrant households. Among immigrants who have lived in Germany for two years, only 8 percent mainly speak German to each other. After 10 years, that percentage increases to 47 percent. All data released were collected in 2017.

The most-spoken language, apart from German, in households with at least one member who has an immigrant background, is Turkish. The share is 17 percent. Russian is next with 16 percent, and Polish is being spoken in 6 percent of those households.

All participants of the micro-census during which these data were collected lived in private households in Germany. Refugee hostels and similar facilities were excluded.

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