Greek Diaspora in Germany: New Survey

Posted on 18 May 2023

SEESOX has started a new collaboration with the University of Cologne to conduct a nationwide representative survey on the Greek diaspora in Germany. The research which has received funding by the Athens based research and policy institute diaNEOsis takes place in the context of the Greek Diaspora project, which explores the relationship between Greece and its diaspora in contemporary times. It investigates how the Greek diaspora can impact Greece's political and economic transformation and explores ways for the Greek state, economy and society to interact with its diaspora.



Greece’s recent protracted economic crisis led to a resurgence of substantial emigration from the country. The combined effects of recession, austerity, and a generalized mistrust towards institutions and disillusionment from the political system drove approximately 500,000 Greek outside their country since 2010, making Greece one of the countries with the highest emigration rates in EU in that period. Germany emerged as the prime destination of this outflow. According to data from German Federal Statistical Service, from 2010 to 2018 more than 250,000 Greek citizens emigrated to German either temporarily or with longer-term aspirations. In the same period, the local Greek diaspora grew by approximately 120,000 people. 

Besides its dynamic economy, another major reason explaining the popularity of Germany among the crisis-driven migrants is the presence of a sizeable Greek diaspora in Germany. Greek migration to Germany is not a new phenomenon; in the postwar period hundreds of thousands of Greeks, mostly people with little formal education, left Greece to fill the gaps in the booming industrial sectors in Germany in the context of the so-called guest-workers programs, with several of them settling there. The recent migrants, however, have a much more diverse educational background including a large share of University graduates who work in competitive sectors of the German economy.


Despite the numerical significance of Greek migration to Germany in recent years, its impact for the economies of both receiving and sending countries, and the changes that it entails for the Greek diaspora in Germany, there is a lack of studies exploring the socioeconomic and demographic profile of the recent migrants, as well as their experiences and future plans. At the same time, there is also a lack of research on the descendants of the post-war Greek guestworkers in Germany, a largely invisible group in Greek public discourse, examining their sociocultural profiles, trajectories and ties with Greece. There is thus a need to examine those two distinct subgroups that jointly shape the future of the Greek diaspora in Germany. In a period when there is a wide consensus about the economic, political and cultural benefits for countries by designing policies that link them to their diasporas, as well as a recognition about this need domestically, hearing from the diasporas and learning about them and from them is paramount.


Putting into practice an innovative quantitative methodology that was pioneered for the study of the Greek diaspora in the UK, we will conduct a nationwide representative survey on the new Greek Diaspora in the Germany. Our aim is to thoroughly explore three distinct fields of inquiry: (1) The socioeconomic, political and cultural profile of the new migrants and second-generation Greeks in Germany, (2) their socioeconomic integration and (3) their connection to Greece and the extent and conditions under which they are willing and able to contribute to Greece.

Due to the lack of a sample frame, diasporas are impossible to reach using traditional survey methods. To overcome this, we will adopt respondent-driven sampling (RDS), a method that utilises social networks to produce data and representative estimates for ‘hidden’ populations such as diasporas who are not captured by national statistical data. We will use the web-based version of RDS, combining this methodology with set of post-stratification weights derived from an external data source (the German microcensus annual survey) to maximise the representativeness of the sample. 

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