People sometimes focus on Muslim demographics in Europe. However, as this report shows, Muslims make up just a quarter (25%) of immigrants in Germany. Why the focus then? One reason is that Muslims are a very large group (either a majority or plurality) among the non-Western immigrants.
Still, Muslims make up such a small minority, why do people feel so threatened? There are several reasons, but the fact that is usually ignored in this debate is that while Muslims might make up 4-6% of the Muslim population in Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland and Germany, immigrants make up 20% of the population in those countries, and a majority or near majority in the larger cities, and this certainly affects the way the 'locals' see their culture and identity.
How do migrants live in Germany? What jobs do they do? What sort of educational qualifications do they have? Are they active in sports clubs? And how long does it take them to find jobs? The report seeks to answer these questions by documenting the actual living conditions of Germany's immigrant population on over 600 pages -- from the cradle to pensioner's housing.
This article was prepared by the Islam in Europe blog - islamineurope.blogspot.com
The paper reveals breakdowns in parenting and at schools, as well as in integration policies. For instance, migrants are not any more inclined to criminality than Germans if they have a residence permit. But the government has yet to come up with long term-rules on rights of residence. Above all it is in the field of education that the position of immigrants remains, now as it was before, appalling. The number of school dropouts has risen among immigrants, and they are almost twice as likely to be unemployed.
But other results are more encouraging, like the fact that immigrants are less likely to commit crime than previously and that they are increasingly becoming self-employed and starting their businesses.
"Germany must become a country of climbers -- in all areas of society," Böhmer said at the presentation of the report. But, she added: "We should not be satisfied yet," concluding that there cannot be talk of equal opportunities for migrants having been achieved in Germany yet.
SPIEGEL ONLINE has outlined some of the report's most-important results.
* Population: In 2008, Germany had 82 million inhabitants of which 15.6 million were from migrant families. That is 19 percent of the total population. Additionally, 7.3 million of these were foreigners. More than a third of all children under five years of age had a migrant background. In larger cities this was much higher. In Frankfurt, more than 65 percent of children under six come from an immigrant family. The most popular religion among immigrants is Islam, with around 4 million Muslims. Of these, 45 percent have a German passport.
* Nurseries and Kindergartens: More immigrants are sending their children to a nursury schools. Nonetheless, the average number of children with migrant backgrounds using these services nationwide is still 9 percent less than children with an ethnic German background using them. In 2008 in what were formerly the states of West Germany (excluding Berlin), 84 percent of immigrant children between the ages of three and six went to kindergarten. In 2007, it was only 73.5 percent. As for children under three with a migrant background, only around 9 percent went to a nursery school in 2008. For children whose parents were born in Germany, that figure was twice as high.
* Schools: The good news is that immigrant students are slowly catching up when it comes to school graduation. More children from migrant families are achieving higher school leaving qualifications, of an intermediate or advanced level. But 43 percent of migrants were leaving school with lower qualifications, such as a general certificate of secondary education, compared to 31 percent of those with German backgrounds. More devastating is the fact that in 2008, 13.3 percent of immigrants aged between the ages of 15 and 19 dropped out of school without graduating -- a dropout rate twice as high as that of students with a caucasian German ethnic background. And the number of migrants dropping out of school has risen: In 2007, it was only 10 percent.
Source: Spiegel (English)