Millions of German pensioners are currently living abroad.
But very few people are drawn to far away places.
The most popular is even a German neighboring country.
Munich – A retirement under palm trees – and still more money in your pocket?
Drawing a pension abroad is tempting for many.
In fact, many seniors don't want to be far away from home as they get older.
This is shown by current figures from the German pension insurance, which are available to
In 2021, for example, the statutory fund paid the most payments to Germans residing in neighboring Austria – namely 27,000. Servas!
They are closely followed by retirees in Switzerland (26,000), the USA (23,000) and Italy (22,000).
In total, a good 250,000 Germans receive benefits abroad.
Pensions abroad: 1.5 million German seniors have emigrated
Former guest workers who are now back in their homeland receive German pensions much more frequently: almost 1.5 million.
Italians lead by a wide margin (around 363,000), followed by Spaniards (193,000) and Austrians (96,000).
But affluent German seniors arouse the interest of many dream countries: Greece, for example, attracts German pensioners with a tax rate of just seven percent on their foreign income - i.e. the pensions.
A stay abroad is also popular among working people: "Most highly educated people emigrate from Germany - but they almost always return to Germany with the experience they have gained," explains Jean Décieux, a scientist at the Federal Institute for Population Research.
Talented Germans are emigrating: Most are drawn to EU countries
For 58 percent of emigrants, professional reasons are the decisive factor.
"There are also educational, lifestyle and family reasons," says Décieux.
"There are no signs of a flight of talent in Germany, we are observing more circular migration movements among skilled workers." People often go abroad for career reasons, but come back for the family: "Because you might prefer to raise your children here or because the parents are getting older.” Accordingly, Germans are primarily drawn to highly developed countries with flourishing labor markets.
"Digital nomads" who work digitally from the beach in Germany are at least not the typical image of German emigrants.
According to the study, the most popular emigration countries for German employees are Switzerland, the USA, Austria, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Spain, France, Poland, the Netherlands, Australia, China and Canada.
"50 percent of migration goes to the EU-27 states and Great Britain" - but Germans have been registered in 169 countries.
In total, more than 230,000 Germans went abroad every year.
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Emigrate to distant countries: Integration works well
It is obvious that Germans and Austrians get along well.
But many also manage to integrate very well in foreign societies: "In Thailand, Chile, Senegal or Brazil, Germans find their way around comparatively well despite major cultural differences," explains the migration researcher.
A particularly strong emotional connection to the new homeland was found among Germans in Canada, Finland or Hungary, for example.
But only around three quarters of migrants work abroad.
Décieux: "We have a large proportion of pupils and students - 13 percent - who are often encouraged to gain experience abroad."
Germany is also popular with emigrants from other countries
But Germany is also attractive: Skilled workers living abroad are very interested in a job in Germany.
The federal government's "Make it in Germany" portal had 3.6 million users from the beginning of August to the end of September.
Almost 30,000 people who want to come to Germany for professional reasons took part in an OECD survey.
In order to be able to use this potential, what is needed above all is support when looking for a job and increased support for learning German, according to the result.
70 percent of the respondents are men - most (19 percent) live in India.
But interest is also high in Colombia (ten percent), the Philippines, Algeria and Turkey.
List of rubrics: © Gaby Wojciech/Imago