Demographics of Berlin

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As of March 2010, the city-state of Berlin had a population of 3,440,441 registered inhabitants[1] in an area of 891.82 square kilometers (344.33 sq mi).[2] The city's population density was 3,848 inhabitants per km² (9,966/sq mi). Berlin's urban area stretches beyond the city limits, comprising about 3.7 million people; the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan area is home to about 4.3 million in an area of 5,370 km2 (2,070 sq mi). In 2004, The Larger Urban Zone was home to over 4.9 million people in an area of 17,385 km².[3]

National and international migrations into the city have a long history. In December 2010, 457,806 residents (13.5 percent of the population) were of foreign nationality from 190 countries.[4]


The city responded to the 1685 revocation of the Edict of Nantes in France with the Edict of Potsdam, which guaranteed religious freedom and tax-free status to French Huguenot refugees for ten years. The 1920 Greater Berlin Act incorporated many suburbs and surrounding cities, forming most of the region comprising modern Berlin. The act increased the area of Berlin from 66 km2 (25 sq mi) to 883 km2 (341 sq mi) and its population from 1.9 million to 4 million.

Asylum policies in West Berlin triggered waves of immigration during the 1960s and 1970s. Berlin is home to about 250,000 Turks (especially in Kreuzberg, Neukölln and Wedding, a locality in the borough of Mitte),[5] the largest Turkish community outside Turkey.

During the 1990s, the Aussiedlergesetze enabled immigration to Germany of residents of the former Soviet Union. Ethnic Germans from countries from the former Soviet Union make up the largest portion of the Russian-speaking community.[6] Immigration continues from a number of Western countries, particularly by young people from other parts of the EU. Berlin has seen an increase in the number of African immigrants during the last two decades.[7]


Foreign-born population[8]
Country of Birth Population (2012)
Turkey 101,061
Poland 46,945
Italy 19,771
Serbia 18,544
Russia 17,596
Bulgaria 15,933
France 15,253
United States 14,395
Vietnam 13,959
United Kingdom 11,480
Spain 11,473
Greece 10,953
Bosnia and Herzegovina 10,680
Austria 10,058
Croatia 10,025
Romania 8,843
Ukraine 8,791
Lebanon 7,094
China 6,084
Thailand 4,975

As of 2010 there were approximately 900,000 people (about 27 percent of the population) with an immigrant background living in Berlin, with significant differences in their distribution. In the West-Berlin areas of Wedding, Neukölln and Berlin-Gesundbrunnen, foreign nationals and German nationals with an immigrant background make up nearly 70 percent of the population; areas of the former East Berlin have lower percentages. The immigrant community is diverse, with Middle Easterners (including Turks and Arabs), Eastern Europeans and smaller numbers of East Asians, Sub-Saharan Africans and other European immigrants forming the largest groups.[9][10] About 70,000 Afro-Germans live in Berlin.[11] There are more than 25 non-indigenous communities with a population of at least 10,000 people, including Turkish, Polish, Russian, Lebanese, Palestinian, Serbian, Italian, Bosnian, Vietnamese, American, Romanian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Austrian, Ghanaian, Ukrainian, French, British, Spanish, Israeli, Thai, Iranian, Egyptian and Syrian communities.[12]

Percentage of people with immigrant background[12][13]
Germans without immigrant background ~71 % (2,450,000)
Germans with immigrant background (including non-German nationals): ~29 % (1,000,000)
Muslim/Middle Eastern origin (Turkey, Arab League, Iran etc.) ~9 % (300,000)
Non-German European origin (Russia, Poland, Great Britain, Greece, Serbia, Spain, France etc.) ~11 % (380,000)
Others (East Asians, Afro-Germans, Americans, Israelis, Sub-Saharan Africans, Latin Americans etc.) ~9 % (300,000)
Ethnic group  % of Berlin's population[12][14]
European: 82.0
Ethnic German 71.0
Polish 3.0
former Soviet Union (primarily Russians) 3.0
former Yugoslavia 2.0
European Other (primarily Southern Europeans) 3.0
Middle Eastern: 9.0
Turkish 5.5
Arab 2.0
Iranian 0.5
other 2.0
Asian: 3.0
Southeast Asian 1.5
East Asian 1.0
South Asian 0.5
Afro-German or Black African 2.0
Mixed or unspecified background 2.0
Other groups (primarily the Americas) 2.0
Total population 3,496,082

These lists are based on official statistics regarding the foreign background of Berlin residents, rather than ethnicity; therefore, there may be a lower percentage of ethnic Germans. Fifty percent of children and teenagers have an immigrant background;[15] in Neukölln, the percentage is higher (nearly 80 percent).[16]

Berlin is estimated to have from 100,000 to 250,000 illegal immigrants.[17] Since the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the European Union there has been a Romani influx, and social-welfare offices are working to integrate them (and other migrants) with German-language and job-skills courses.[18]

The most-commonly-spoken foreign languages in Berlin are Turkish, Russian, Arabic, Polish, Kurdish, Vietnamese, English, Serbian, Croatian, Greek and other Asian languages. Turkish, Arabic, Kurdish, Serbian and Croatian are heard more often in the western part, due to the large Middle Eastern and former-Yugoslavian communities; Vietnamese, Russian and Polish have more native speakers in eastern Berlin.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bevölkerungsstand in Berlin am 30. November 2011 nach Bezirken". Amt für Statistik Berlin-Brandenburg (in German). 31 October 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  2. ^ "Berlin statistical figures". Amt für Statistik Berlin-Brandenburg (in German). Retrieved 19 August 2008. 
  3. ^ "City Profiles Berlin". Urban Audit. Retrieved 20 August 2008. 
  4. ^ "Foreign residents of Berlin" (PDF). Amt für Statistik Berlin-Brandenburg (in German). Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  5. ^ Spooner, Andrew (13 May 2007). "Berlin: Shish And Sauerkraut To Go". The Independent (UK). Retrieved 24 May 2010. 
  6. ^ Berlin is speaking Russians' language. The Russia Journal. 10 March 2001.
  7. ^ "Berlin wird farbiger. Die Afrikaner kommen – Nachrichten WELT am SONNTAG – WELT ONLINE". Die Welt (in German). 28 October 2001. Retrieved 2 June 2011. 
  8. ^ "Foreign residents of Berlin" (PDF). Amt für Statistik Berlin-Brandenburg (in German). Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Migration – Jeder vierte Berliner hat ausländische Wurzeln – Berlin Aktuell – Berliner Morgenpost – Berlin". 30 March 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  11. ^ Yonis Ayeh. "ISD Online • Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland". Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  12. ^ a b c
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Schlagworte der Integrationsdebatte". Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  16. ^ "deine inform@tion zone: Mach dich stark für starke Kinder". Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  17. ^ Von Andrea Dernbach (23 February 2009). "Migration: Berlin will illegalen Einwanderern helfen – Deutschland – Politik – Tagesspiegel". Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  18. ^ "Die Roma von Berlin-Neukölln – Nachrichten welt_print – Politik – WELT ONLINE" (in German). 28 September 2010. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  19. ^ "Studie – Zwei Millionen Berliner sprechen mindestens zwei Sprachen – Wirtschaft – Berliner Morgenpost – Berlin". 18 May 2010. Retrieved 2 June 2011.