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Is there evidence of significant levels of segregation between migrant groups and the majority population?

Key Area:
Housing & Segregation
Racism, Discrimination
25/01/2013 - 09:24
Short Answer

Yes. Although there is no nationwide reporting system on inner-city spatial distribution of migrants, several studies confirm segregation between migrant groups and majority population.

Qualitative Info

Although there is no nationwide reporting system on inner-city spatial distribution of migrants, several studies confirm segregation between migrant groups and majority population. Thereby, the level of segregation depends on the migrant group. A study on certain migrant groups and persons with dual citizenship in 29 towns, conducted by a Berlin-based institute (Arbeitsstelle für Interkulturelle Konflikte und gesellschaftliche Integration am Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin, AKI) showed that significant levels of segregation can be noticed amongst Turkish nationals and Turkish persons of dual nationality; followed by persons from the former Soviet Union and former Yugoslavia. Thus, persons with a Turkish citizenship and persons from the former Soviet Union more often live in districts with a higher proportion of their own ´nationality` compared to the average proportion in the city.

Generally, in city districts with a high proportion of foreigners, the concentration of the migrant groups which are analysed in the study is high, too. The study, which was published in 2007, refers mainly to data from 2004 and is based on official statistics and on the dataset of the inner-city spatial monitoring (Innerstädtische Raumbeobachtung) provided by the Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning (Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung, BBR).
In 2006, the Federal Office Building and Regional Planning (Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung, BBR) started a project called Migration/Integration and local housing/neighbourhood policies (Migration/Integration und Stadtteilpolitik) where 75,000 neighbourhoods were analysed. The findings show a rather high level of ethnic segregation in East Germany, Northern Bavaria, Northern Hesse and the Ruhr are in North Westphalia (Ruhrgebiet). Further, the results also indicate a higher level of segregation in large cities and in small municipalities having fewer inhabitants than small towns.
Jürgen Friedrichs reviewed several studies on ethnic segregation in Germany. The results of a study which analysed 15 cities between 1990 and 2005 indicated that segregation generally decreased in German cities between 1990 and 2005. The highest level of segregation could be observed by people of Turkish and of Greek origin; the latter has changed as shown in more recent studies mentioned above.
Migrants are usually over-represented in less-favoured districts. As migrant quarters are mostly multi-ethnic, neighbourhoods, where one nationality represents the population majority, are not common in Germany on the level of city districts. Only few city districts have a migrant group which is represented with more than 10 per cent of all inhabitants [4, p. 193 ff.]. However, disadvantaged neighbourhoods are rather caused by social segregation than by ethnic segregation (Friedrichs 2008, p. 390, 392, 404). Thus, an increase in social segregation is more likely to be observed. The trend that rents in the inner city areas are extremely increasing contribute to this development [2, p. 22].

According to an essay on segregation there still is ethnic segregation in Germany especially due to reasons such as low income of migrants, discrimination on the residential market and clustering in certain town districts because of the proximity to family and friends [6]. Yet, the segregation indices which explain the ethnic segregation of foreign population in selected towns show relatively stable or decreasing numbers. These mainly stable indices (within a period of about 15 years) are explained by a high influx of low income Germans into theses town districts and the outflow of migrants who have climbed the social ladder.
Further, with regard to the second generation of migrants, the so-called TIES-Study published in 2011 indicates that significant levels of housing segregation can be noticed among the second generation of Turks and, to a lesser extent, among persons from former Yugoslavia. The study further assumes that the segregation in the area of housing is linked to individual labour market positions and educational levels.



  1. Bosch, Nicole/ Peucker, Mario/ Reiter, Stefanie (2008), Racism, Xenophobia and Ethnic Discrimination in Germany 2007,, Accessed on 23.01.2012, p.100/101.
  2. ENAR (2012). ENAR Shadow Report 2010-2011: Racism and related discriminatory practices in Germany,, Accessed on 28.03.2012.
  3. Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, BAMF) (2008), Daten zu Wohnverhältnissen und innerstädtischer Segregation von Migranten, Working Paper 21, , Accessed on 12.12.2011, p. 58/59.
  4. Friedrichs, Jürgen (2008), Ethnische Segregation, in: Kalter, Frank (ed.): Migration und Integration. VS Verlag: Wiesbaden, 380-411.
    Sachverständigenrat deutscher Stiftungen für Integration und Migration (SVR) (2010), Einwanderungsgesellschaft 2010: Jahresgutachten 2010 mit Integrationsbarometer,, Accessed on 23.01.2012.
  5. Schönwälder, Karen/ Söhn, Janina (2007),  Siedlungsstrukturen von Migrantengruppen in Deutschland: Schwerpunkte der Ansiedlung und innerstädtische Konzentrationen,  Discussion Paper no. SP IV 2007-601,, Accessed on 03.01.2012, p. 1, 8-10.
  6. Farwick, Andreas (2012): “Segregation”; In: Handbuch Stadtsoziologie; Eckhard, Frank (editor); Springer: p. 381-419. available:, Accessed on 23.01.2013.
  7. Sürig, I. and Wilmes, M. (2011) ‘Die Integration der zweiten Generation in Deutschland Ergebnisse der TIES-Studie zur türkischen und jugoslawischen Einwanderung’, Osnabrück, Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies (Institut für Migrationsforschung und Interkulturelle Studien, IMIS), Vol. 39/2011, p. 140, available at:, Accessed on 25.01.2013.


Groups affected/interested Migrants
Type (R/D)
Key socio-economic / Institutional Areas Housing
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