Population and Transportation of Berlin, Germany

Population and Religion

The population census of 1939 showed the highest level in the city’s history with 4.34 million residents. At the end of 1945 Berlin had a population of 3.027 and 1950 of 3.34 million. Immigration restrictions for Berlin (East), the end of the resettlement flows from the former German eastern regions and the repeated crises in Berlin then slowly reduced the population to 3.24 million (1962). The violent interruption of the emigration flow from the Eastern sector and the relaxation of the immigration restrictions have led to a slight increase in the population of Berlin (East) (1985: 1.22 million residents). Since 1961, Berlin (West) has recorded a decrease in the total population, which results from a strong natural decrease in population and a mean migration loss of the German population, mitigated by strong natural population growth and large migration gains of the foreign population. In 1985, 1.85 million people lived in West Berlin, including around 250,000 foreigners, including 110,000 Turks.

In the distribution of the population within the urban area, the stronger growth of the outer districts since 1939 compared to the inner city is noticeable. In 1991 the average number of residents in Berlin was 3.44 million; by 1994 it rose to 3.48 million, after which it steadily decreased until 2000 (2000: 3.33 million residents). After a phase of stagnation until 2004, a slow increase is recorded again to (2017) 3.61 million residents. In 2017, 649,200 foreigners lived in Berlin, including 107,900 Turks, 45,500 Poles, 32,000 Syrians, 22,600 Russians, 20,800 Italians, 19,300 Vietnamese, 18,600 Americans, 16,700 Bulgarians and 15,200 French. The number of asylum seekers decreased from 55,000 in 2015 to 8,300 by the end of 2017.

Religion: Ecclesiastically, Berlin belongs to the Evangelical Church Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia and the Catholic Archdiocese of Berlin. In 2017, around 16% of the population belonged to the Evangelical Church, and 9% to the Catholic Church. The third largest Christian group are the Orthodox Christians (especially Greek, Serbian and Russian Orthodox). In addition to the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Regional Church, the Orthodox Churches and the classical Evangelical Free Churches (Adventists, Baptists, Brethren, Brethren Movement, Salvation Army, Lutherans [SELK], Mennonites, Methodists, etc.) there are numerous other Christian communities in Berlin (predominantly evangelical and Pentecostalism).

The non-Christian world religions Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism are represented by communities of different currents. The largest non-Christian religious community is formed by the estimated 353,000 Muslims (almost 10% of the population) with well over 100 places of prayer and assembly. The Jewish religious community (Jewish Community of Berlin) had 9,700 members at the end of 2016; the Jewish community in Berlin is the largest Jewish community in Germany.


Inner-city traffic between the two parts of Berlin was interrupted by the construction of the Berlin Wall. Public transport ended at the sector boundary. In the local public transport, the interrupted underground and S-Bahn lines were brought together again.

The lines of the U-Bahn have a length of (2017) 146 km (1991: 134 km), the length of the S-Bahn network is (2017) 331.5 km (1991: 250 km). The formerly important tram traffic was stopped in 1967 in the western part, in 1995 the first new line went into operation here. In the eastern part of the city, the trams are still very important. The route length of the tram in the city is (2017) a total of 193.6 km. Since the end of the division, transport planning and policy for the Berlin region have had to take into account a new or regained transport geographic situation.

Berlin is a major transport hub. It is completely surrounded by a motorway ring into which several motorways leading to Berlin flow. The total length of public roads in Berlin in 2017 was 5,452 km, of which 77 km were motorways and 169 km were federal highways. Rail traffic runs through the main train stations Berlin-Hauptbahnhof, Berlin-Südkreuz, Berlin-Spandau, Berlin-Ostbahnhof, Berlin-Ostkreuz and Berlin-Gesundbrunnen. The Tiergarten Tunnel was opened in 2006 and includes a 2.7 km long four-track railway tunnel and a 2.4 km long car tunnel. In 2017, the two Berlin airports Schönefeld and Tegel counted 33.4 million passengers (Schönefeld: 12.9, Tegel: 20.5). The former was expanded to become Berlin Brandenburg Airport, which began operations in 2020. At the same time, Tegel was closed. Berlin is through the Oder-Spree Canal, the Oder-Havel Canal and the Teltow Canal are connected to the European waterway network. In 2017, the cargo handling of the Berlin ports amounted to 2.7 million tons.

Transportation of Berlin, Germany