Germany is a Western European nation with an estimated population of 81 million people. The country is primarily home to ethnic Germans and many ethnic minority groups. Before 1950, Germany was mainly occupied by ethnic Germans and very few ethnic minorities. In the mid-1950s, foreigners immigrated into Germany as workers. Most of these immigrants were of Turkish ancestry. Over time, many more immigrants moved to Germany seeking asylum, economic opportunities, education, and better living standards. Currently, Germans make up the largest ethnic group. Ethnic minorities in the country include Turks, Poles, Italians, and Russians. The majority of Germans speak the German language. Irreligion is the largest religious group in the country, followed by Christianity.
Germans are the predominant ethnic group in Germany. They are estimated at 80% of the country’s population. German tribes existed as far back as to the Nordic Bronze Age. They closely interacted with Slavic, Baltic, and Iranian tribes in those ancient days. These tribes played a part in shaping German culture. Today, Germans are known as great writers and philosophers. They are very keen on keeping time. Germans celebrate various folk festivals such as Oktoberfest, which is a beer festival. Over 60% of Germans identify themselves as Christians. Approximately 18% are non-religious.
Turks are the largest minority group in Germany. They make up around 3.7% of the German population. Their entry in Germany started from as early as the 16th Century. The Turks of the Ottoman Empire attempted to expand their territory beyond Balkan borders. They were held Siege in Vienna. After the Siege, some Turks were taken as prisoners in Germany. Then, in the 1960s and 1970 Germany had a shortage of laborers. They sought foreign workers from Turkey, Italy, and Spain. Turks moved to Germany as laborers, and they brought their culture with them. Some aspects of Turkish culture introduced in Germany are the Turkish language, their cuisine, and Islam. Turkish restaurants can be found in Germany. German Turks are actively involved in the art and music scene in Germany. They have been integrated into the German society, and they take part in all national events. German Turks have suffered a few attacks from neo-Nazi groups through the years.
Germany has close to three million Germans of Polish ancestry. They make up an estimated 1.9% of the German population. Most of these Poles have lost their Polish identity because they have been assimilated into German culture. Poles initially settled in modern day Germany after the partition of Poland in the 18th Century. Later in the 19th Century, close to 300,000 Poles moved to the Ruhr region in Germany drawn by the rapid industrialization in the area. The German government does not recognize German Poles as a national minority group.
Russians form a significant minority group in Germany. Most Russians moved to Germany after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Russians in Germany have assimilated well into the German society. However, they face discrimination and intolerance similar to other ethnic minorities in Germany.
Ethnic Diversity and Cooperation
Germany is a home for people hailing from many distinct cultures and having a variety of different religious beliefs. Close to 20% of German citizens trace their ancestries to other parts of the world. These ethnic minorities significantly contribute to the German culture regarding art, music, cuisine and lifestyle. Similarly, German culture has influenced the way of life of these ethnic minorities. The variety of cultures in Germany has made the country advance in many aspects.
Largest Ethnic Groups In Germany
|Rank||Ethnic Group||Share of German Population|
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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