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More than 16 million Germans have immigrant roots

BERLIN — Statistics show the number of Germans with immigrant roots has reached more than 16 million, or nearly 20 percent of the population, for the first time since records were kept following World War II.

Germany's Federal Statistics Office said Wednesday that data from a micro-census showed nearly 20 percent of the nation's roughly 82 million people claimed immigrant backgrounds in 2009.

Some 10.6 million Germans traced their immigrant roots to so-called "guest workers" who came to Germany in the 1950s to help rebuild the nation. Instead of returning home, mostly to Turkey, they put down roots and started families.

The office said that 715,000 Germans with immigrant backgrounds were born between 2005 and 2009, while the German population shrank by 1.3 million in that time.

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