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Around 4 million Muslims in Germany

Between 3.8 and 4.3 million Muslims from a migrant background live in Germany.* This was the finding of the study on "Muslim life in Germany". This means that considerably more Muslims live in Germany than was previously assumed to be the case. Published in June 2009, the study was produced by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees on behalf of the German Islam Conference. This aims to fill the gaps in knowledge relating to the number and structure of Muslims living in Germany. The findings of the first nationally representative study on "Muslim life in Germany" are now available. It was based on interviews with people from almost 50 countries shaped by Muslim influences.

Regions of origin of Muslims

Migrants of Turkish origin constitute the largest group of Muslims in Germany by far. Altogether, around 2.5 million Muslims of Turkish background live here. They outstrip by a clear distance 550,000 Muslims from south-east Europe and 330,000 Muslims from the Near East. Other regions of origin are south/south-east Asia, north Africa, Iran, Central Asia/CIS and sub-Saharan Africa. The composition of Muslims is therefore very heterogeneous. The proportion of Muslims of Turkish origin is nevertheless predominant in this group.  

Nationality of Muslim migrants

The study reveals that nearly half (45 percent) of Muslims living in Germany are now naturalised. Altogether, around 1.8 million Muslim migrants with German citizenship and around 2.2 million Muslims with foreign citizenship live in Germany.

Denominations of Muslims

The overwhelming majority of Muslims in Germany are Sunnis. This is followed by the Alevis and the Shiites, mainly originating from Iran. Relatively few Muslims in Germany belong to other denominations.

Surplus of men

53 percent of Muslims from a migrant background are male. The surplus can be explained by the fact that more men than women have immigrated. The disparity is particularly pronounced in the group of immigrants from Africa and the Near East. Indeed, twice as many men as women come from sub-Saharan Africa.

Age profile of Muslims

Compared to German society as a whole, the Muslim group from a migrant background is considerably younger. The average age is significantly lower, above all among Muslims who have emigrated from the Near East and south-east Europe. As a whole, the average age of a Muslim is 30.1 years.

Where do Muslims live within Germany?

The vast majority of Muslims live in the old federal states, with not even two percent in the new ones. Very few of the largest group of Muslims in Germany, those of Turkish origin, live there. Of the overall small group of Muslims from central Asia/CIS, nearly 13 percent live in the new federal states.
A third of the Muslims in Germany live in the most heavily populated federal state, North Rhine-Westphalia The high concentration of Muslim migrants in North Rhine-Westphalia is attributable to the fact that the so-called "guest worker generation" moved mainly into industrial conurbations like Cologne-Bonn and the Ruhr region.

Anne Kuhl, BAMF, 06.08.09

*It is not possible to state exactly the number of Muslims in Germany, because affiliation to the Islamic religion is not recorded centrally as in the Christian one. The data are therefore based on extrapolations on the basis of the quota of Muslims ascertained within the framework of the study among immigrants from the individual countries of origin, the ascertained quota of naturalised citi-zens and data from the central register of aliens.

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