“Immigrants tend on average to be more poorly educated and more frequently unemployed and to participate less in public life than the native population.” This first finding of the study “Unutilised Potentials” of the “Berlin-Institute for Population and Development” is not surprising at all. Yet behind the unassuming title, figures are conceal that are that brisance and distinct; it is hard to beat. The study is the first one in Germany that compared the success of integration of migrant groups from different countries of origin. For critical observers, the fact that the Turks got the worst results is hardly surprising, but it is a slap in the face for the defenders of multiculturism in Germany.
Migrants integrate differently – depending on their country of origin
This distinction of the immigrants became possible due to the initial polling of the migrant’s country of origin in the 2005 micro census by the Federal Statistical Bureau, an annual survey of one percent of the population living in Germany. The derived data is also so innovative because previous studies on migration only included foreigners. In the meantime, however, half of the 15 million migrants and their offspring living here have German citizenship “without thereby necessarily the integration problems are resolved.” This is 20 percent of the local population, which means Germany has a larger migrant population than any other European country. Given demographic trends, this proportion will increase even more in the future.
For a reasonable description, the immigrants were divided into eight regions or groupings: ethnic German immigrants (from the former Soviet Union, so called “Aussiedler”), Turkey, Southern Europe (Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain), other countries of the EU-25, the former Yugoslavia, Far East, Middle East and Africa. Thereby, undifferentiated data arise primarily in the regions from which two types of refugees migrated, respectively asylum applicants and – in contrast – highly qualified professionals, since the micro census does not specify the legal status for privacy reasons. Here, the editors of the study can only propose the very different integration achievements within each group of migrants and make presumptions based on the figures of the asylum applications from the interior ministry.
The question is why Afghanistan and Pakistan were included in the group “Far East” instead of “Middle East.” Here, the cultural background should be considered as more important than the geographical location. This leads to slightly unclear results of the Far East group. Therefore, very regrettably, one cannot see the values of each country, not even in the Annex.
Index for measuring integration
In order to investigate the different immigrant groups in terms of their integration, the experts of the Berlin-Institute developed an index for measuring integration (IMI). 15 indicators in the areas of assimilation, education levels, employment and financial backup address very different areas of life and should also be as independent as possible from each other. On the basis of five indicators, the immigrants and their next generation are compared dynamically, because the real success of integration is only measurable by the people born in the migrant country.
Generally, in all eight groups of migrants, there is a broad spectrum of integration success, but “migrants with a Turkish background tend by far to be the most poorly integrated group in Germany.” This is in spite of the fact that the Turks have already been in Germany for a long time, and half of them were born there. For example, the high unemployment rate also exists in the second generation and the level of educational has only subtly improved. With nearly one third without any education, the group of Turks is the least educated among all migrants.
The need for political action
The study is not only explosive in its findings, but also well presented. A little history of immigration into Germany since World War II and the presentation of the basic proportions of migrants in Germany provide an appropriate introduction. The statistical data are presented graphically and colour-coded, thus very easy to understand. Only the absence of the respective percentages in the bar and pie charts could be criticised. Due to the explanation of individual values and concepts, the study is also understandable for non-experts.
The well-documented index for measuring integration contains figures that should not only determine the current immigration policy, but also be included in every higher-education institution as a “must-read.” The different treatment of integration-willing migrants and those who live at the expense of the welfare state of the host society and isolate themselves from this society, must ultimately be a political reality. This study clearly indicates – without mentioning it explicitly, however – that migrants from countries with a strong Islamic influence integrate into German society much more poorly than migrants from non-Islamic countries. Additionally, the study also shows that how well migrates integrate depends mainly on the efforts of the migrants themselves.
In addition to the mentioned topics, the study also examines how well integration in different regions and cities in Germany functioned. It concludes with a chapter on the potential costs of failed integration. Here, however, the authors note that the available studies, such as of the Bertelsmann Foundation from 2008, result in very different figures due to different calculation models. But what they all have in common is that the lack of integration costs the host society a hell of a lot.
The blame for this can be given to the previous multicultural policy: “The vision of a multicultural society in which each ethnic group should be unaffected act out their character, never allowed real integration, but rather strengthened the live in those parallel societies, in which the lower classes of the cities mass.” For the researchers at the Berlin-Institute this means primarily “unutilised potential.” Therefore, probably the unassuming title of the study “On the current state of integration in Germany.”
Franziska Woellert, Steffen Kröhnert, Lilli Sippel, Reiner Klingholz: Unutilised Potentials. On the Current State of Integration in Germany, Berlin Institute for Population and Development, 2009.
This review is a translation of the German review at BuchTest.