Press Release – 20 December 2016

New research findings relating to refugees in Berlin

Last night's violent incident on the Breitscheidplatz Christmas market in Berlin is likely to lead to increased fears across European societies, and to further polarise debates relating to the reception of refugees. In light of this, Refugee Rights Data Project releases preliminary findings from ongoing field research among refugee camps and communities in Berlin.

Feelings towards Germany

  • 87.3% of respondents said they feel ‘very satisfied’, ‘satisfied’ or ‘quite satisfied’ in Germany. Only a small minority felt unsatisfied, and this was usually because they were unable to bring their families through family reunification.
  • The vast majority, 77.43% of respondents, reported that they feel ‘very happy’, ‘happy’ or ‘neutral’ about being in Germany.
  • Only 6.45% of respondents said they are feeling ‘very unhappy’ about being in Germany.
  • Only 3.18% said they feel ‘unwelcome’ or 'very unwelcome’ in Germany. The vast majority feel ‘welcome’ or ‘very welcome'.

Integration into German society

  • 39.64% ‘speak German well’ or ‘can hold a conversation’ thanks to German lessons provided by the government and due to personal efforts learning the language only after a short time in the country.
  • Only 11.11% do not feel integrated into German society at all. The vast majority felt well or partially integrated.

Future aspirations

  • According to the preliminary results of our field research, all respondents would like to find work in Germany.
  • 16.13% envisage working in highly skilled jobs, and 20.97% said they would be prepared to take ‘any job’ to begin with, in order to make a living, regardless of their previous career paths.
  • Only 3.23% of respondents envisage staying home as a housewife (compared to 14.29% who were housewives in their country of origin)
  • 16.13% of respondents would like to further their level of education in Germany, while 31.75% already had a university degree (Bachelor or Master).

Fears of return

  • 90.32% said they cannot go back to their country of origin, due to war, political persecution and similar.
  • 95.16% said they would not go back even if offered money to do so, as they fear for their lives.


“Our preliminary first-hand research findings indicate that refugees and asylum seekers in Germany are generally satisfied with their conditions and appreciative of the services and safety provided by the German government and host communities. Irrespective of nationality, age and gender, refugees report that they wish to make a positive contribution to German society, and the majority told us that they already feel partly or fully integrated. These research findings are important to bear in mind during this period of heightened fear and polarised public debate.”

About the research study

  • The above preliminary results are drawn from an ongoing research study which has so far covered five refugee camps, two community centres and one cultural centre in Berlin.
  • The study commenced on 16 December 2016 and is still ongoing.
  • The study aims to interview 500 people in total. The preliminary results are based on 63 interviews with individuals from Afghanistan, Albania, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Macedonia, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Somalia, and Syria.
  • 69.8% of respondents were men, and 30.2% women.
  • Respondents’ ages range from 16 to 61 years old.

About Refugee Rights Data Project

Refugee Rights Data Project (RRDP) is a non-governmental human rights organisation and UK registered charity. We aim to fill information gaps relating to refugees and displaced people in Europe by conducting our own independent field research.

Our organisation is run by individuals spanning a broad range of sectors and backgrounds. We are independent of any political ideology or religion, united by our commitment to defend the human rights of some of the world’s most vulnerable groups of people.


For enquiries, please contact:

Marta Welander
T: +44 (0)788 0230 979