Poverty: From this income you are considered poor in Germany

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Poverty: From this income you are considered poor in Germany

Germany is one of the richest countries in the world. Nevertheless, there are some people in this country who are affected by poverty in old age. But at what income do you actually fall below the poverty line? For Example. At the supermarket, only the cheapest items go into the shopping cart, and the budget doesn’t allow for new clothes any more than it does for a visit to the cinema or a restaurant. People who are poor not only have financial worries, but are often also unable to participate in social life. A fate that befalls people in Germany more and more often. But what does poverty actually mean in this country? And at what income level are people considered poor?


13.8 million people in Germany affected by poverty

Poverty in Germany? For a long time, this was swept under the rug by an affluent society that doesn’t like to put up with what it puts up with: People who are poor. Yet the numbers speak for themselves. According to the Parity Poverty Report 2022, 13.8 million people in Germany are poor: They have less than 60 percent of the median income to live on, i.e. 1,148 euros net per month. Since 2006, the risk of poverty has thus increased by almost a third. At that time, a good 11 percent of the population were poor; today, the figure is 16.6 percent. “Poverty has long since ceased to be a marginal phenomenon, but is moving into the center of society,” says Christoph Butterweggei, a poverty researcher from Cologne.

And the situation is steadily worsening. Since the pandemic began, another 600,000 people have slipped into poverty, mainly the self-employed, with the poverty rate among them rising from 9 to 13 percent. Inflation and the energy crisis are accelerating this, Butterwegge says. “We’re seeing a new phenomenon, difficult to capture statistically, but massive: hidden poverty.” Where food prices and heating costs are exploding, more and more people no longer have enough money to live on, even if they are not yet poor by definition. At the same time, the number of people in absolute poverty is increasing, and they are no longer able to meet even their basic needs: Housing, clothing, food. In order to protect against poverty, basic security, housing allowance and Bafög are no longer sufficient, summarizes the Paritätische Wohlfahrtsverband and demandsii: Raise them now.

Serious consequences – middle class increasingly affected

Having little money available has an impact in all areas of life. Households with an income of less than 2,000 euros net per month “have poorer health, fewer educational opportunities, and are more dissatisfied with their lives overall,” according to Kohlrauschiii. The average net income per household in 2018 was around 3700 euros per month.People with little disposable income were already doing without everyday things particularly often before the crisis. For example, the appropriate heating of the apartment or the purchase of new clothes and shoes. Only one in two low-income households even thinks about going on vacation.

The sharp rise in costs since 2020 therefore also means that more and more people with middle incomes are feeling significant pressure to save and are also doing without a lot or at least cutting back. Among households with net incomes of up to 3,500 euros, around one in three wants to cut back on grocery shoppingiv.

Old-age poverty in Germany: Thousands of pensioners are still working at 85

In total, there are over one million seniors still in wage employment. Leftists criticize: Low pensions drive old people back into the workforce. Industry calls for higher retirement age. A debate has flared up in Germany about the “pension at 63” and various sides are calling for it to be abandoned. But far too little is said about the fact that more and more pensioners have to work. This year, more than one million employees in the Federal Republic were 67 years old or older.

That emerges from an answer of the Federal Government to a question of the left. The Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland had made it public on Wednesday. From the answer of the Federal Government it goes out further that at present over 400,000 employees are ready over 70 years old, scarcely 138,000 are even over 75 years oldv. Accordingly, the total number of retirees still engaged in wage employment increased by 15,000 compared with the previous year. The increase is clearer when compared with 2015, when it amounted to around 200,000 employees. Of the more than one million working pensioners, over 230,000 are employed on a social security basis and around 835,000 are employed exclusively on a marginal basis. Accordingly, they work in offices, as vehicle drivers in road transport, in cleaning, warehousing or building services. Among the 13,000 employees who are 85 and older, there are still 446 who work as vehicle drivers in road transport, the RND report said. For many, returning to wage employment is not a voluntary decision, Dietmar Bartsch, parliamentary group leader of the Left Party in the Bundestag, told RND. Rather, he said, it is necessary “because there is still a lot of month left at the end of the pension.” In other words, old-age povertyvi and meager pensions are reasons why many retirees return to work.

 : Sources

i https://www.der-paritaetische.de/securedl/sdl-eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJpYXQiOjE2NzE2Mjc4NzIsImV4cCI6MTY3MTcxNzg3MiwidXNlciI6MCwiZ3JvdXBzIjpbMCwtMV0sImZpbGUiOiJmaWxlYWRtaW5cL3VzZXJfdXBsb2FkXC9TY2h3ZXJwdW5rdGVcL0FybXV0c2JlcmljaHRcL2RvY1wvYnJvc2NodWVyZV9hcm11dHNiZXJpY2h0LTIwMjJfd2ViLnBkZiIsInBhZ2UiOjI2MjB9.QXcW8xfMnS_Qd7mycDUbIhKPVlo4J0vblAWRFUQdLWU/broschuere_armutsbericht-2022_web.pdf

ii https://enorm-magazin.de/wirtschaft/warum-wir-ein-bedingungsloses-grundeinkommen-brauchen

iii https://www.bpb.de/kurz-knapp/zahlen-und-fakten/soziale-situation-in-deutschland/61754/einkommen-privater-haushalte/#:~:text=Das%20Nettoeinkommen%20der%20Privathaushalte%20in,Euro%20(durchschnittlich%207.607%20Euro).

iv https://www.tagesschau.de/inland/gesellschaft/armut-in-deutschland-stark-gestiegen-101.html

v https://www.heise.de/tp/features/Debatte-um-Fruehrente-Arbeitsminister-Hubertus-Heil-gegen-Rente-mit-75-7396754.html

vi https://www.heise.de/tp/features/Altersarmut-in-Deutschland-Tausende-Rentner-sind-noch-mit-85-im-Job-7443936.html



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