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 the population’s perceptions and expectations with regard to integration and migration as well as integration and migration policy. The 2020 Integration Barometer was the first to be sponsored jointly by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community and the 16 federal states (Laender). The Integration Barometer has been expanded into a Federal Government/Federal State Barometer, which enables analyses to be made at the federal state level too. The 16th Conference of Integration Ministers, held in April 2021, endorsed the Federal Government and federal states continuing to jointly fund the Integration Barometer. The next Barometer, planned for 2022, can thus also be based on a significantly increased sample.
One unique feature of the Barometer is that it captures the perspectives and assessments of both sides of the immigration society. It therefore complements those statistics that only look at either the majority population or the immigrant population. One of the strengths of the Integration Barometer is the large number of respondents with a migration background, making it one of the largest representative immigrant surveys in Germany. Its large sample enables detailed analyses among the population with a migration background, for example by group of origin or social status. Weighting factors applied during the analyses guarantee that the actual shares of people with and without a migration background in the population are appropriately reflected. This ensures that the overall analysis is representative.
For the Integration Barometer, people are randomly selected every two years based on a scientific procedure and then interviewed by telephone. More than 9,000 people were surveyed for the 2018 Integration Barometer. The sample for the 2020 Federal Government/Federal State Integration Barometer was significantly expanded (15,000 intervieews) so that analyses can also be conducted at the level of the federal states. The 2011 and 2013 Annual Reports encompassed a smaller-scale migration barometer which looked at migration policy issues.
2020 Integration Barometer
The 2020 Integration Barometer is the third nationwide survey and the first which is not only representative of people with and without a migration background at national level but also at regional level. In addition to measuring the integration climate, the 2020 Integration Barometer investigated satisfaction with democracy and trust in politics and institutions, among other things.
The integration climate is still perceived to be positive. In comparison to the survey conducted in 2017/18, people without a migration background feel that social coexistence in Germany as an immigration country is slightly better now. This is above all down to the more positive attitude of male respondents. The long survey period means it is possible to compare people’s attitudes before and after the coronavirus lockdown measures took effect in March 2020. The analysis shows that satisfaction with democracy and trust in politicians in general and the Federal Government in particular were both higher in the period after the lockdown. The increase in satisfaction and trust tends to be stronger for people without a migration background than for those with a migration background, although the latter started from a higher base level of satisfaction. Trust in school and the police as institutions was on a high level during the coronavirus pandemic, both in respondents with and without a migration background. However, those with a migration background who feel discriminated on account of their origin have less trust in both institutions.
A total of 15,095 people across Germany took part in the telephone survey for the 2020 Integration Barometer in the period between November 2019 and August 2020. They included 8,034 people without a migration background, 1,244 ethnic German resettlers, 880 people of Turkish descent, 2,078 EU migrants and 2,859 migrants from the rest of the world. The minimum quotas on sample sizes at regional level and the corresponding weighting mean the 2020 Integration Barometer is representative at federal state level of people with and without a migration background. It is also representative at national level of people with and without a migration background and the groups of origin mentioned in the above.
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.