New report reveals the depth of German poverty

Article from Time magazine

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stash
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8...1900649,00.html

To many on the outside, Germany looks like a big, rich country enjoying the benefits of being Europe's largest economy. Inside, Germans know that looks can be deceiving. As in any nation, parts of Germany suffer from poverty, and Germans have always assumed they knew which parts: the west is rich and the east is poor. But a new report reveals the truth isn't that simple. The wealth imbalance in Germany isn't just between east and west; there are also large regional differences between the country's north and south. And across the country there are pockets of poverty more crushing than most Germans realized — and it's only getting worse.

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Oblomov
1,000 EUR/month for a single person isn't really the kind of "poverty" that forces you to go to bed hungry, is it?
Darkknight
It does if the costs of living keep going up, while monthly pay stays the same or goes down...
SpiderPig
1,000 EUR/month for a single person isn't really the kind of "poverty" that forces you to go to bed hungry, is it?
What planet are you on...??

I certainly coundnt live on 1000 a month..

My Mortgage repayments are almost that!
miwild
... In Germany, that's around $1,066 per month for a single person ...
That´s € 760.00 at the current $/€ exchange rate ...
Oblomov
Ah, you are right. I didn' notice the $ sign and was somewhat surprised as the amount seemed comparatively high.
SpiderPig, be happy about your low mortgage payments. I have to pay well above 1,000 EUR/month for renting my apartment. However, if I were living alone I could live with 1,000 EUR/month (760 EUR/month would be pretty tight, though.).
MonksTown
Poverty is defined in social science as being below X % of the "average" income in a country as opposed to whether you go hungry.
Oblomov
I know, but with this kind of definition the term "poverty" is getting meaningless. Well, I guess that the headline "more and more people live below 60% of median household income" isn't quite as catching as "people living in poverty", is it. Moreover, what does that number really tell us about how these people live? Living on 60% of median household income in Berlin is certainly much more agreeable than living on 90% of median household income in Munich.
AncientBrit
As Mr. Micawber said in Charles Dickens' novel David Copperfield:

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery
Wilkins Micawber (Wikipedia)
Hutcho
I watched a show last night where a Hartz IV family (2 parents, three kids) all went on a nice summer holiday to the south of France. Honestly, if there is one thing no one should complain about here, it's the social system - unless of course you're the one paying for it.

They class 60% of average income to be living in poverty. That's no real poverty, that's just being poor. If I was single, I could live easily on 760 euros even here in Munich. It would be far from a life of luxury, but it would be doable.
swimmer
I agree with you Hutcho in one way. A lot of us could live of 760 Eur. But I for one really wouldn't want to (and in my case I have some assets behind me to cushion me). The relative thing is quite important in my opinion. I want to be doing the stuff that the better off do. I don't want to be marginalised!

One thing the report highlights again is, OK it's not penury, just how many people scrape by on very little money here, hand to mouth (as I've said enough times here). I live in one of the more prosperous parts of Germany - Hessen was, as usual, number three "best" in this survey, behind the big two of Bayern and BW. However, I see so much poor living here, very low quality life, both obvious and what I call "genteel poverty" (as in ekeing out a coffee and cake all day at the nice cafes or whatever and then going home to a shabby, unheated flat on which they are probably not paying rent). As I've said before, it's one thing that really shocked me when I moved here. So goodness knows what it must be like in the less well off parts.

And that's why I for one also get irritated by some immigrants and their: "only 20 Eurs an hour for EL teaching, that's so low" or "why are they only offering me 30k" or "why is my net only 2000 Eur" lines. That's oodles compared to what a lot of people here live off, year after year after year (with dependents). The Time article got that right: the prosperous image that a lot of foreigners have of Germany is not exactly true.

Similarly SpiderPig too. Your mortgage? 1000 Eurs a month? Not having a go at you (as I'm speaking as one whose been there and done it, own outright, which is why I could live on 750 Eur) but this shows our personal perspective can differ from reality of life for Germans. Most Germans don't own property and can't dream of 1000 Eur a month rent. Many never will own, and certainly not one costing 1000 Eur a month. It is way, way out of their league. A lot have absolutely nothing. It's also quite unequal - people with existing family money and / or well paid secure jobs do OK, zip for the rest.
tom_a
going home to a shabby, unheated flat on which they are probably not paying rent
Why "unheated"? The Sozialamt pays all your heating bills if you are "needy", doesn't it?

Or do you mean "unheated" because it's May and quite warm outside?
nimo9999
I certainly coundnt live on 1000 a month..
My Mortgage repayments are almost that!
So you have a Mercedes and a house on top of a hill? I guess I know what type of poverty you are talking about... Anyway, jokes apart, I think 1000 EUR/month is something anyone can live with in Germany in most parts, ofcourse not a lavish life...Compare that to 20 EUR a months in many parts of the world. But ofcourse Germans will work to improve this I am sure , thats why Germany still remains a relatively balanced society.
hoare-spitall
But ofcourse Germans will work to improve this I am sure, thats why Germany still remains a relatively balanced society.
You're fooling yourself. Germany is a deeply divided society and the division between rich and poor and have's/have nots is widening at a rate to compete with the big bang. Sensible and honest politicians have recognised this dichotomy and are discussing it publicly while seeking solutions.The less sensible politicians deny it publicly but discuss it earnestly behind closed doors because of the serious future implications.

If you read German then read "Brennpunkt Deutschand" as one of the most objective, recent assessments of the state of the nation. You might then understand what the real issues should be in the upcoming elections in this country. Sadly, the reality is that the elections will probably descend into the usual, meaningless left/right cat-calling and will be decided on those issues
Joe
In the time I have lived here, I would say in general the standard of living has dropped for most people, simply because wages have not matched price increases.
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