Refugees in official statistics – Federal Statistical Office

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Statistical data on refugees

The Federal Statistical Office provides data on individual aspects in the context of the debate, which takes place in the media landscape and in politics under the headings “refugees”, “persons seeking protection”, “asylum seekers” and the like.


Statistics on foreigners, persons seeking protection

The Central Register of Aliens also provides data on persons seeking protection. Among other things, information is available on the number of persons seeking protection over time, the distribution by federal state, the regions of origin and the first year of entry of the persons seeking protection.

migration statistics

The migration statistics show the inflows and outflows of persons (e.g. by country of origin and destination, citizenship, age and sex) who have registered or deregistered with the relevant registration authorities in accordance with the registration regulations. Asylum seekers and other persons seeking protection in Germany are generally obliged to register and are therefore included in the migration statistics; however, they are not recorded and proven separately because the legal basis does not provide for this. Alternatively, an approximate determination of the persons seeking protection via auxiliary variables such as nationality and country of origin is possible, even during the year.

population update

The annual data of the population update show the population as at 31.12. of a year according to the characteristics gender, nationality, age (individual years) and marital status. Refugees and asylum seekers are taken into account when calculating the population and population figures, but are not determined separately. The long-term trends in population development are not called into question by the high level of immigration in 2015.


In the microcensus, a sample of around 1% of the population is interviewed annually about its economic and social situation. Information on the part of the population that has its roots abroad is also available in principle from the microcensus. However, the following restrictions apply to the recording of persons seeking protection in the Microcensus:

In the sample of the microcensus, it can be assumed that the number of persons seeking protection who came to Germany mainly in 2015 was under-recorded. Provisionally erected buildings, converted industrial sites, gymnasiums or similar facilities in which many persons seeking protection are temporarily accommodated are not covered by the sample basis. As of 2017, the data material of protection seekers included in the microcensus can be distinguished from that of other immigration groups. The current question programme of the Microcensus asks about the reason for migration of the population with foreign roots.

social statistics

According to the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act, information on the receipt of standard benefits, special benefits and expenditure/revenue is provided in the area of social benefits. In addition, data on unaccompanied minors from abroad are recorded as part of the child and youth welfare statistics on provisional protection measures. The residence status of the beneficiaries and their nationality are also recorded in the statistics on social assistance benefits in accordance with Book XII of the Social Code. Contents are available on assistance for subsistence, basic provision and benefits under Chapter 5 to Chapter 9 of the Social Code, Book XII.

National accounts

The national accounts include all expenses, costs and income relating to the subject of “persons seeking protection”. When calculating the gross domestic product, all public and private expenditures and investments for the migration of persons seeking protection are recorded. The consumption expenditure of persons seeking protection is also taken into account in this context. However, it is difficult to determine the quantitative impact of the migration of protection seekers on the gross domestic product and its components: Thus, in the basic statistics on which the national accounts are based, persons seeking protection are generally not recorded separately. Moreover, it is not possible to quantify the increasing effects of the immigration of persons seeking protection on the gross domestic product because it is not possible to determine exactly to what extent state expenditure for other purposes is reduced in return.

In principle, those seeking protection are also included in the total number of employment accounts. However, since the employment statement does not evaluate individual socio-demographic values, it is not possible to provide separate proof of the persons seeking protection. The same applies to compensation of employees and its components.

Municipal Finances

In the quarterly cash statistics and in the annual accounting statistics, the municipal finance statistics provide information on the income and expenditure of the municipalities and associations of municipalities. In both statistics, the cash expenses for benefits under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act and for child and youth welfare are shown separately. It is important here that minors seeking protection are entitled to child and youth welfare benefits.

In the annual accounts statistics, which are available approximately two years after the end of a reference year and provide comprehensive information on expenditure and income by task, the task “assistance to asylum seekers” includes not only social benefits but also reimbursements and allocations. The investments for facilities to accommodate foreigners, ethnic German repatriates and asylum seekers are subsumed in the annual accounting statistics under the task “social facilities”.

education statistics

The education statistics provide information on the educational level of the population, broken down by nationality and migrant background, and on students, trainees and pupils by nationality.

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Christina Cherry
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