Policy Article

Analysis and forecasts of migration to Germany


  • Heidland
  • T.
  • Jannsen
  • N.
  • Groll
  • D.
  • Kalweit
  • R.
  • Boockmann
  • B.
Publication Date

Higher net immigration to Germany might be key to cushioning the working-age population's aging. Yet, what migration potential exists around the world, and how large will the resulting net immigration be? Germany is one of the most preferred destinations worldwide, particularly in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, but it is trailing anglophone destination countries. Overall, almost 50 million working-age people in Germany would prefer migrating to Germany if they had the opportunity. However, only about three percent of these potential migrants actually move to Germany in a given year, resulting in far lower annual immigration. Furthermore, many immigrants do not stay permanently. Despite the large migration potential, annual net immigration flows therefore only number in the hundreds of thousands. Given its attractiveness as a destination, by actively changing immigration policy and improving integration conditions, Germany could use immigration to overcome labor shortages to a much larger extent. In this report, the authors study Germany's attractiveness as a destination for migration, the determinants of migration decisions, the decision to stay in Germany, and the resulting migration flows. Also, the authors study the role of population growth in origin countries and conduct several scenario analyses to assess the likely response of future aggregate migration flows to different economic recovery paths in Germany and origin countries until 2030.


Key Words

  • emigration
  • Immigration
  • migration potential
  • scenario analysis

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