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BERLIN (Reuters) - About 10 million people with foreign passports lived in Germany in 2016, an increase of 1.9 million people or 23 percent from 2014, the highest level ever recorded, the German Federal Statistics Office reported on Friday.
Statistics are still being compiled for the country's total population in 2016. A spokesman for the office said it would likely be around 83 million.
In 2015, a total of 17.1 million people living in Germany had an immigrant background, and that number likely rose in 2016, the official said. Updated data will be released in late July. That number includes German citizens who originally came from other countries and dual nationals.
The increase in the foreign population in Germany stems mainly from a decision by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to open the doors to more than a million migrants, mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, over the past two years.
Data released on Friday showed that 5.8 million of those without German passports came from outside the European Union.
That number included 520,000 Syrians, 138,500 Iraqis and 178,100 Afghanis who moved to Germany since the start of 2015, the office said.
Reporting by Andrea Shalal Editing by Jeremy Gaunt