An initiative of: Stiftung Mercator and the Volkswagen Stiftung, Foundation, Bertelsmann Stiftung, Freudenberg Foundation, Robert Bosch Stiftung, Stifterverband and Vodafone Foundation Germany. The SVR’s Annual Report 2020 is being funded by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community.
Surveying People’s Opinions on Integration
The Integration Barometer is a representative public survey of people with and without a migration background in Germany. It measures the integration climate in Germany as an immigration country and captures perceptions and expectations of the population with a view to integration and migration and well as integration and migration policy.
One unique feature of the Barometer is that it gauges the perspectives and appraisals on both sides of the immigration society. It therefore complements statistics that only look at either the native population or the immigrant population, or are only based on structural indicators (e.g. labour market integration). One strength is the high proportion of respondents with a migration background (over 70%), making the Integration Barometer one of the largest representative immigrant surveys in Germany. This makes it possible to perform a detailed analysis among the population with a migration background, e.g. by group of origin or social status. Weighting factors guarantee that the actual proportions people with and without a migration background in the population are reflected accordingly in the analysis. This ensures that the overall analysis is representative.
For the Integration Barometer, more than 5,000 people are randomly selected and interviewed by phone in a scientific process every two years. For the 2011 and 2013 Annual Reports, a Migration Barometer on migration policy issues was carried out on a smaller scale.
2018 Integration Barometer
The 2018 Integration Barometer is the second to be based on a representative nationwide survey. As well as being asked about how they rate the integration climate in Germany, those surveyed were also asked about their attitudes to refugees, what they believe it takes to be successful in Germany and their opinion about Islamic headscarves in schools and government agencies.
The SVRʼs Integration Barometer shows that all population groups are predominantly positive about how migrants and the native population are living together in society. This in particular applies to those who experience cultural diversity in their everyday lives. The Integration Climate Index (ICI) for those who have no personal experience of integration has fallen compared to 2016 and 2017. Attitudes to refugees are more nuanced: Most of those surveyed, both with and without a migration background, are in principle in favour of Germany continuing to receive refugees. At the same time, the majority of people surveyed believe that the number of refugees arriving should be limited. Whether Muslim women should be allowed to wear an Islamic headscarf in schools and government agencies remains a contentious issue. The majority of Muslim migrants approve of the wearing of Islamic headscarves. The majority population, by contrast, takes a critical view of Islamic headscarves being worn in schools in particular.
Some 9,300 people with and without a migration background across the whole of Germany took part in the telephone survey. The 2018 Integration Barometer is representative of people with and without a migration background and of various groups of origin.
2016 Integration Barometer
For the 2016 Integration Barometer, perceptions of the integration climate were once again surveyed in Germany. In addition, it was also determined if criteria such as being born in Germany or German citizenship are important for belonging to society in Germany. The content of the 2016 Integration Barometer also includes e.g. the acceptance of religious diversity in Germany and issues related to refugees and asylum.
The SVR’ Integrations Barometer shows that the integration climate in Germany continues to be stable. There was clear evidence that the more people with and without a migration history interact socially, the better their perception of the integration climate is. It was also found that the majority of respondents reject exclusionary criteria such as being born in Germany or having German citizenship as a criteria for belonging. Employment, on the other hand, is seen as important for affiliation. An ambivalent picture emerges when it comes to acceptance of Islam: there is a high level of approval for introducing Islam religious instruction at state schools; but most do not agree with the statement that Islam is part of Germany.
The telephone survey of around 5,400 people with and without a migration background was carried out nationwide. The 2016 Integration Barometer is representative for the population with and without a migration background as well as for the individual groups of origin.
2014 Integration Barometer
The 2014 Integration Barometer captured the German public’s opinion on the extent of successful integration of first and second generation migrants, in particular equal access to public sector jobs and incidences of direct discrimination. For the first time ever, the survey included questions on religious diversity and the institutional equality of Islam. Interviews were conducted with 5,660 respondents in five regions: Rhine-Ruhr, Stuttgart, Rhine-Main, Berlin-Brandenburg and Halle-Leipzig. The 2014 Integration Barometer provides representative data for migrants and the native population living in the five regions surveyed.
The German public continues to show a generally pragmatic and positive attitude towards integration. Furthermore, respondents reacted positively to measures undertaken by the Federal Government and Laender to address demands for religious equality, e.g. the introduction of Islam as a subject to be taught in public schools. In contrast, the majority is sceptical about special treatment of individual students based on their religion, e.g. being excused from physical education or swimming lessons for religious reasons.
2013 Migration Barometer
The 2013 Migration Barometer captured the German public’s opinion on mobility and solidarity within the EU, as well as their personal identification with Europe. The 2,200 respondents were also asked about their individual utilisation of EU mobility rights. The interviews were carried out in five regions: Rhine-Ruhr, Stuttgart, Rhine-Main, Berlin-Brandenburg and Halle-Leipzig. The 2013 Migration Barometer provides representative data for migrants and the native population living in the five regions surveyed.
The 2013 Migration Barometer shows a high degree of intra-European solidarity across Germany’s population: More than two-thirds of those surveyed agree that EU labour migrants should have the right to receive welfare benefits if they become unemployed in Germany.
2012 Integration Barometer
The 2012 Integration Barometer focused on the positive and negative sides of integration at the local level as well as the German public’s perception of integration policies in Germany’s federal multi-level governance system. The interviews were carried out in five regions: Rhine-Ruhr, Stuttgart, Rhine-Main, Berlin-Brandenburg and Halle-Leipzig. The 2012 Integration Barometer provides representative data for migrants and the native population living in the five regions surveyed.
The German public continues to show a generally pragmatic and positive attitude towards integration. The Barometer also shows that more than 50 % of migrants and the native population complain that Germany’s public debate on integration was “more often than not” negative or “way too” negative.
2011 Migration Barometer
The 2011 Migration Barometer measured the German public’s knowledge, attitudes and opinions on migration and migration policy. Furthermore the telephone survey asked about immigration preferences (e.g. refugees, highly skilled professionals) of Germany’s migrants and native population. In total, 2,450 interviews were carried out in four regions: Rhine-Ruhr, Stuttgart, Rhine-Main and Berlin. The 2011 Migration Barometer provides representative data for migrants and the native population living in the four regions surveyed.
One of the main results: The majority of Germany’s migrant and native populations (60 %) favours a higher immigration rate of highly skilled professionals. In addition, 48.5 % of migrants and 40.9 % of the native population support an increased admission of refugees.
2010 Integration Barometer
The 2010 Integration Barometer assessed the integration capacities within Germany’s native and immigrant populations. Furthermore the telephone survey inquired about the German public’s perceptions and assessment of integration policy. In total, more than 5,600 interviews were carried out in three regions: Rhine-Ruhr, Stuttgart and Rhine-Main. The 2010 Integration Barometer provides representative data for migrants and the native population living in the three regions surveyed.
The 2010 Integration Barometer shows that integration of first and second generation migrants in Germany can be considered a success in everyday life. The Barometer finds a “pragmatic optimism towards integration” and a “resilient mutual trust” between migrants and the native population. Furthermore, the Barometer inquired about perceived discrimination, e.g. in school or at work. While overall perceived discrimination remains comparatively low, there are several steps to be taken in order to reduce unequal treatment of migrants in Germany.