Skip to main content

New BiB-BAMF survey on (transnational) family life and social contacts of refugees in Germany

TransFAR logo


How do transnational families of refugee populations look like? Where do the family members live and how do they communicate and support each other across national borders? And, which personal social contacts do forced migrants have and with whom do they spend their free time? The TransFAR (“Forced Migration and Transnational Family Arrangements: Eritrean and Syrian Refugees in Germany”) survey provides answers to these and many other questions related to transnational families, personal social networks and the life of recently arrived refugees originating from Eritrea and Syria living in Germany.

TransFAR is a research project conducted by the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB) in cooperation with the Research Centre of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF-FZ). In 2020, more than 1,450 face-to-face interviews were carried out, half of them with Eritreans and half with Syrians; moreover, half of the interviewees were women and half men. The Central Register of Foreigners (Ausländerzentralregister, AZR) was used as a nationally representative sampling frame. Apart from citizenship and sex, further eligibility criteria were that respondents had to have entered Germany between 2013 and 2019 at the age of at least 18, and who were 45 years old or younger at the time of sampling.

A first publication presents new descriptive findings, highlighting important differences between countries of origin as well as in terms of gender. For instance, women are more often in a relationship and have children, while men are more likely to be single and childless. Both women and men live mostly together with their nuclear family in Germany, only Eritrean men tend to have also substantial transnational partnership arrangements. However, when considering also the extended family, both Eritreans and Syrians show important transnational family configurations. The family seems to be crucial for the entire migration process, but with significant differences between the two groups of origin.

The publication is available here (German only):

The Scientific-Use-File is expected to be available by the end of 2022.


Project team:


  • Kamal Kassam
  • Elisabeth K. Kraus
  • Nikola Sander
  • Lenore Sauer (contact)


  • Susanne Schührer
  • Manuel Siegert
  • Anja Stichs (contact)


Please feel free to contact us also via

Find out more about the project here: