KNOWLEDGE BASE Population - Ethnicity - Language In Germany

The information on this page was current at the time it was published. Regulations, trends, statistics, and other information are constantly changing. While we strive to update our Knowledge Base, we strongly suggest you use these pages as a general guide and be sure to verify any regulations, statistics, guidelines, or other information that are important to your efforts.

 

Population, Ethnicity, and Language in Germany

 

Germany's population

The population of Germany in 2020 was approximately 83.24m.  This represents nearly 18.5% of the total European Union (EU) population.  It has the largest population of all of the EU countries, with the next being France at 65.2m.

Germany’s population is overwhelmingly German, with just 1 out of 10 being foreign.

Of the people who live in the country, 49% are male and 51% are female.  

The most populous German states are Baden-Württemberg and Bayern (Bavaria). The states with the highest population density are  Berlin (the capital of Germany) and Hamburg - both often referred to as city-states - as well as Bremen, a commercial and industrial city with a major port on the River Weser, leading to the North Sea. Berlin is Germany's startup hub, and Hamburg is also considered a tech center. 

Table showing German population percentages by state

 

German ethnicity

The ethnic makeup of Germany aligns with the reported nationality, with 91.5% being German.  While less than 1% of the population, a successful integration of  refugee population could have a positive impact on  the aging population and low birth rate. As discussed in the Globig section, Demographics On Aging In Germany, Germany's aging population is a concern to the country and its citizens. 

Germans tend to ‘trust somewhat’ or ‘not trust very much’ when it comes to people from other nationalities.  Much smaller groups either ‘trust completely’ or ‘do not trust at all’.  This general outlook is similar to that of people in the US, with the US tending a bit toward lower trust.  This indicates that you will have to work to gain trust  with the Germans when entering their market as a foreigner. They are unlikely to immediately embrace you and your business.

Graph showing level of trust for people of another nationality for US and Germany

 

Language in Germany

The official language of Germany is German. Danish, Frisian, Sorbian, and Romany are official minority languages; Low German, Danish, North Frisian, Sater Frisian, Lower Sorbian, Upper Sorbian, and Romany are recognized as regional languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

Nearly two thirds of the German population (56%) speak English

 

In Germany, while you can generally conduct at least initial B2B business in English, for B2C you will need to use German.  

 

 

Globig Insights

Germans are heavily ethnically German and German speakers.  While there are other races and spoken languages within Germany, there is still some level of tension - like in most of the world. With you as a foreigner, it’s important that you build trust and credibility, and plan on showing that you are dedicated to the market.  And remember, for B2C, plan on conducting business in German.

In our section on HIring Options in Germany, we give you advice on how you can build your staff in Germany.  In the Product Localization for Germany area, you’ll find advice on how to ensure your product or service feels local to the Germans - a key ingredient to your success.  The Language Localization for Germany section provides guidance on how to make sure you are using the German language correctly in your products and communications.  

Find vendors through the Globig Marketplace to help you navigate the German market.  

 

Globig Resources

Statistiches Bundesamt - government statistics on population

World Factbook

Eurofound

Eurostat

World Values Survey

Eurostat overview of foreign language learning statistics

Eurostat statistics on foreign language study rates for European upper secondary students

Eurostat statistics on foreign language study rates for European primary students

KNOWLEDGE BASE Population - Ethnicity - Language In Germany