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Child and Youth Services in Germany

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Structural framework > Society

Migration and displacement

10.9 million Germans (13% of the population) have an immigration background; one in three has lived in Germany since birth. 83.2 million people in Germany reside in private households:

  • of which 11.2 million are foreign nationals; of these, 43% are EU citizens.
  • of which 21.9 million have an immigration background. In the 10-20 age group, this share is around 36%.

244,132 people applied for asylum (initial and follow-up applications) in 2022.

28,600 unaccompanied refugee minors were taken into the custody of child and youth services in 2022. 19,100 of these were preliminary cases and 9,500 were regular cases.


Zwei Mädchen sitzen in einem Bälle-Bad / Two girls sitting in a ball pit

83.1 million people were resident in private households in Germany in 2022. (Since the annual German Microcensus does not collect data on, e.g., people living in shared accommodation, some figures may vary, depending on the statistical basis.) (See also Population)

Foreign nationals in Germany

11.6 million foreign nationals were living in Germany at the end of 2022, half of these for eight or more years. 43% hold the nationality of an EU member state. Turkish nationals make up the majority, followed by nationals of Poland, Syria, Romania and Italy. 

People with an immigration background in Germany

The Federal Statistical Office defines a person as having an immigration background when they themselves or at least one parent was born with a nationality other than German. One person in three with an immigration background has lived in Germany since their birth.

The younger the age cohort, the greater the share of people with an immigration background. One-third of the target audience for youth services comprises young people with an immigration background.

Population with and without an immigration background, 2021 (absolute figures in thousands)

  Total 0–10 age group 10–20 age group
  N = 83,103 N = 7,794 N = 7,613
Status abs. % abs. % abs. %
Without immigration background 59,278 71.3 4,632 59.4 4,698 61.7
With immigration background 23,825 28.7 3,162 40.6 2,915 38.3
  • German nationals
12,191 14.7 2,129 27.3 2,014 26.5
  • Non-German nationals
11,634 14 1,033 13.3 901 11.8

Source: Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) 2023: Subject-Matter-Series 1 Series 2.2, p. 38; own calculations

Refugee minors 

Refugee minors very often arrive in Germany accompanied by one or both parents. In 2022 around 252,422 people applied for asylum in Germany. 37.4 of these were minors. The older the refugee minors are, the larger the share accounted for by males. In the younger age cohorts, the share of female minors is the same as that of male minors. 

Unaccompanied refugee minors

28,600 unaccompanied refugee minors were taken into the custody of child and youth services in 2022. 9.3% of them were female minors. 66.2% were between 16 and 18 years of age. Most refugee minors thus arrive in Germany accompanied. 

Unaccompanied refugee minors are legally entitled to be taken into the custody of child and youth services (Article 42 of Book 8 of the Social Code [SGB VIII]). In 2015 a preliminary custody process (Articles 42a et seq. SGB VIII) was incorporated with the aim of ensuring a more even distribution of refugee minors across the federal states and local authorities. 

The youth welfare offices in Germany were responsible for 25,084 unaccompanied minors as of 31 October 2022. This number includes 7,427 young persons that have attained full age but who arrived in Germany as unaccompanied minors.  

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