The proportion of poor people in Germany has reached a new high, according to the Federal Statistical Office, with the data highlighting a sea change in the German economy. The bad news is that the report only covers data up until the end of 2021 before the dramatic increase in food and energy prices in 2022, which means this trend is likely to dramatically worsen over the coming year.
“The findings are shocking, the economic effects of the pandemic are having a full impact,” said Ulrich Schneider, the director of the German Welfare Parity Association, while delivering a presentation of the “Poverty Report 2021.” The association plays a large role in helping deliver and coordinate social welfare services in the country, with 10,000 organization members and association branches in all 15 German states.
“Never before has a higher value been measured based on the official micro census, and never before has poverty spread so rapidly as during the pandemic,” said Schneider, who added that there are “more poor people than we’ve ever had.”
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According to the current poverty report, 13.8 million people live on less than 60 percent of the average income. In the past two years alone, the number increased by 600,000 people.
The proportion of those falling under the official poverty definition is an all-time high of 16.6 percent, according to the Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper. Impoverishment seen among self-employed people, who suffered from the lockdown measures, is dramatic. Here, the proportion of people with insecure income rose from 9 to 13.8 percent.
Increasingly, the worse off are pensioners (17.9 percent) and children (20 percent), who are now much more likely to be affected by poverty.
Since 2006, Schneider’s association has observed a constant negative trend in Germany. While the number of poor people was 11.5 million 15 years ago, it is now 13.8 million, representing an increase of over 2 million.
With gas prices expected to rise dramatically in winter, a number of politicians and government agencies are warning of a catastrophic situation, including up to 5 million jobs lost and mass bankruptcies. If the predictions come to pass, Germany’s poverty figures will undoubtedly worsen even further.