Increasing number of German politicians have migrant backgrounds

Increasing number of German politicians have migrant backgrounds

The number of elected politicians with a migrant background in Germany is slowly increasing, but “Representationslücken” (representation gaps) are still marked in the country’s state parliament.

Minimal proportion of German politicians have a migrant background

According to data recently released by the Mediendienst Integration in Berlin, the number of politicians with a migrant background elected to the Bundestag is rising faster than the number elected to the German State Parliament (Landtag).

Since data on elected politicians' migrant backgrounds is not collected centrally, political scientists Andreas M. Wüst and Henning Bergman from the University of Applied Sciences in Munich collected and updated data from 2012 to 2021 to track how the trend has changed.

Since the 1990s, the number of elected politicians with a migrant background has increased sharply in Germany. In the early 1990s, there was not a single politician with a migrant background elected to the Bundestag. That changed for the first time in 1994 when three such representatives won their campaigns.

By the end of 2021, 83 representatives or 11,3 percent of those in the Bundestag, said their family had a migration background. In the Landtag, 136, or 7,2 percent, said the same. Though the proportion has been increasing quickly, the existing 11,3 percent of politicians still do not represent the make-up of Germany’s current population, 27,5 percent of whom have a migrant background.

In some federal states, this discrepancy is more pronounced. In Rhineland-Palatinate, North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria, Hesse and Saarland, the gap between the share of the population with a migrant background versus the share of representatives with a migrant background is particularly large. In Saarland, 21,7 percent of the population have a migrant background but there wasn’t a single such Landtag representative for the state in 2021.

Proportion drops sharply among CDU / CSU representatives

There are also great discrepancies when it comes to which parties the politicians with a migration background represent. At Bundestag level, 28 percent of Left Party politicians have a migrant background. The SPD follows as the party with the second largest percentage of such representatives at Bundestag level, though the proportion is a big jump down to 17 percent, and for the Green Party,  those with a migrant background make up 14,4 percent of representatives.

The three parties with the lowest percentage of Bundestag representatives with migrant backgrounds come after another big jump down. The AfD comes in third with 7,2 percent, followed by the FDP with 5,4 percent and finally, with the smallest proportion, the CDU / CSU with 4,1 percent.

What's more, the university researchers found that politicians with a migrant background who are elected are granted a significantly shorter term in office compared to those whose recent family background is almost exclusively German.

Thumb image credit: aushilfe444 /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

Read more



Leave a comment