La statistiche sulla Germania fanno emergere una situazione sconcertante. L’economia sembrerebbe essere entrata in una fase di stagnazione, l’industria automobilistica riduce la produzione in Germania e la sta trasferendo all’estero, il governo sembrerebbe essere inesistente.
I dati riportati come valori medi sono spinto verso l’alto dalla presenza di numerose persone fisiche e/o giuridiche a reddito molto elevato: i dati mediani o riportati per percentili evidenziano invece situazioni di grave sofferenza economica. I dati enumerativi poi sono impietosi.
«New research has illustrated the increasing poverty in larger German cities, particularly those in the Ruhr region in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populated state»
«in the Ruhr city of Gütersloh, showed the share of welfare recipients in cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants increased to 14 percent – four percent above the national average»
«46 percent of city respondents said they had witnessed an increase in poverty»
«The industrial area was one of Germany’s richest throughout the 20th century on the back of a thriving coal mining industry. As the coal mines have closed however, wages have stagnated and poverty has trended upwards in the region»
«Many of the youngsters’ parents often lack the money or the time to provide regular meals, he said, adding that the centre aims to give the youths a space “where they can feel at home”.»
«That’s how generations of poor children become poor adults and poor parents»
«statistics show that 45 percent of children raised by a sole parent, usually their mother, live in relative poverty»
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Si è perfettamente consci come sotto campagna elettorale nessun partito provi un gran desiderio a parlare di codesti argomenti.
Tuttavia i problemi non si risolvono eliminandone la menzione.
Il fatto che la povertà stia aumentando in Länder ricchi dovrebbe dare molto cui pensare.
Statistics have revealed increases in poverty in many larger cities in west Germany, predominantly in the Ruhr region. Conversely, poverty is trending downward in the former east.
New research has illustrated the increasing poverty in larger German cities, particularly those in the Ruhr region in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populated state.
The research, announced in the Ruhr city of Gütersloh, showed the share of welfare recipients in cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants increased to 14 percent – four percent above the national average.
The research, conducted by the Bertelsmann Foundation and reported in the Rheinische Post on Tuesday, showed the city residents were noticing the increases in poverty more so than the population at large.
In total, 46 percent of city respondents said they had witnessed an increase in poverty, whereas only one-third of nationwide respondents felt the same.
Ruhr poverty on the rise
Gütersloh – one of many mid-size cities in Germany’s industrial heartland – was chosen as the site of the research release to highlight the rising poverty in the region.
Poverty has increased in 13 communities in the Ruhr region with more than 100,000 inhabitants. The Ruhr area – known in German as the Ruhrgebiet – is home to more than 5 million people and is the third largest urban area in the European Union.
The industrial area was one of Germany’s richest throughout the 20th century on the back of a thriving coal mining industry. As the coal mines have closed however, wages have stagnated and poverty has trended upwards in the region.
Opposite trends eastwards
Conversely, poverty has decreased in cities in the former east. Despite the comparative economic disadvantage remaining since reunification, each of the ten communities in the former east that classify for ‘city’ status has seen a diminution in poverty in the study.
German taxpayers foot a 5.5 percent ‘solidarity tax’ which is aimed at bridging the economic gap between the west and the former communist east.
The money is channeled into economic support for the states that make up the former east, although there have been repeated calls in recent years to abolish the tax.
Taxpayers demonstrating on anniversary of fall of Berlin wall/#Mauerfall against economic subsidy tax for formerly communist east. They want the new government to kill the so-called #Soli. pic.twitter.com/2dE4lWmCTw
Chancellor Angela Merkel touted Germany as a country “in which we live well and happily” during her re-election campaign. But those words ring hollow to the one in five children living in poverty in Europe’s top economy, with little prospect of climbing the social ladder.
It’s just gone 3:00 pm at the Lichtenberg youth centre in east Berlin, where youngsters are laying out cherry tomatoes and carefully chopped cucumber as they get ready to prepare dinner together.
For many of them, the weekday ritual is an eagerly awaited moment.
“We notice it a lot especially among the teenagers, they ask us: ‘When can we eat? I haven’t eaten all day’,” said Patric Tavanti, head of the centre run by the charity Caritas.
Many of the youngsters’ parents often lack the money or the time to provide regular meals, he said, adding that the centre aims to give the youths a space “where they can feel at home”.
“I come almost every day,” Leila, one of the teens, told AFP. “We chat, cook together and just have fun.”
In Europe’s powerhouse, the economy is humming, public coffers have never been fuller and unemployment is at its lowest since reunification in 1990.
Yet some 20 percent of under-18s live in “relative poverty”, according to the family ministry, defined as living in households that have to get by on less than 60 percent of the average German household income.
For a single parent with one child, that amounts to a monthly net income below €1,192 ($1,470).
For a family with four children, it’s under €2,355.
Despite record employment, only a third of the parents of Germany’s roughly 2.8 million impoverished children have jobs, said Heinz Hilgers, of the Child Protection Association (Kinderschutzbund).
Beyond the material shortcomings they suffer, growing up poor takes its toll in many other, more insidious ways.
“It’s a downward spiral,” said professor Klaus Hurrelmann, of the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin.
“The children feel excluded, they start to feel ashamed when they can’t join in school excursions or invite friends over for a birthday party. They end up losing confidence in themselves and struggle at school,” he said.
Falling behind at school
Tavanti, of the Berlin youth centre, said it was a phenomenon he had witnessed first-hand.
“Just one of our adolescents is currently trying to pass the Abitur,” he said, referring to the secondary-school leaving certificate required to pursue higher education.
He believes many German schools struggle to meet the needs of these at-risk children, who often come from immigrant families or single-parent homes.
“We’re seeing a growing need for food, but also for help with homework and reading,” agreed Lars Dittebrand, who runs the Manna family centre in Berlin’s Gropiusstadt area, famed for its towering social housing estates.
Compounding the problem is Germany’s early-age education sorting system, critics say, which can prematurely put disadvantaged pupils on a less academic route, potentially leading to lower-paying and less secure jobs.
Decrying what it calls “hereditary poverty” in Germany, a study by the Bertelsmann Foundation think tank found that just some three to 16 percent of households, depending on calculations, managed to cross the poverty line and improve their lot.
“That’s how generations of poor children become poor adults and poor parents,” said Hilgers, of the Child Protection Association.
As well as being a stain on Germany’s conscience, it’s “a huge economic risk”, he warned, in a greying nation already grappling with a shortage of skilled labour.
‘Making their own way’
Germany’s new government, a repeat coalition of Merkel’s conservatives and the centre-left Social Democrats, has vowed to tackle the challenges by raising child benefits, offering more child care facilities and all-day schools to make it easier for parents, especially mothers, to work.
But for lawmaker Lisa Paus, of the opposition Greens party, those promises don’t go far enough.
She said Germany urgently needed to do more to support single parents.
“Poverty often starts when couples split up,” she said.
Indeed, statistics show that 45 percent of children raised by a sole parent, usually their mother, live in relative poverty.
Some politicians and campaigners have called for a basic monthly income for children of around €500 for the lowest-earning households to help break the poverty doom loop.
But for a government determined to maintain a balanced budget, any hint of lavish spending is anathema.
Instead, Family Minister Franziska Giffey plans to introduce a law in coming months aimed at improving the quality of daycare facilities, with a bigger emphasis on early-child development.
“Every child should be allowed to make their own way, regardless of where they come from and where they grew up,” she said.
A new report claims that more Germans are poor now than at any time since reunification. But some experts have dismissed the numbers as “not serious and stupid”.
“With 15.7 percent of Germans in poverty, we have unfortunately reached a high point since reunification,” said Ulrich Schneider, head of the Equal Welfare Association, on Thursday.
The figures are based on statistics from the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) which records the proportion of the population with an income less than 60 percent of that of the median German household.
In 2005, 14.7 percent of Germans were living below this barrier.
The report by the Equal Welfare Association argued that 12.9 million people in Germany were living below the poverty line in 2015.
“Economic developments have not been reducing poverty for a long time,” said Schneider.
The apparent increase in poverty comes despite unemployment levels falling for years.
In February, unemployment in Germany hung on at an all-time low, official data showed on Wednesday, standing at 5.9 percent – the same level as in January and its lowest level since German reunification in 1990.
People without work and single parents were both particularly vulnerable to poverty, the Equal Welfare Association report stated. A third of all foreigners lived in poverty, while a quarter of all families with three or more children faced this hardship.
Meanwhile the number of pensioners below the Equal Welfare Association’s poverty line has risen by 49 percent in a decade, leading Wolfram Friedersdorf – head of the People’s Solidarity Association – to speak of an “avalanche” of old-age poverty.
Berlin and the Ruhr region of North Rhine-Westphalia are the regions worst affected by hardship.
But the Equal Welfare Association figures are controversial. Destatis classifies people below the 60 percent mark as “threatened by poverty” as opposed to the Equal Welfare Association’s definition, which describes them as poor.
Walter Krämer, a statistics professor at the Technical University in Dortmund, called the statistics “not serious and stupid” in an interview with RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland.
“The welfare associations know exactly why they don’t want to use serious statistics – because they would show that poverty has been sinking for years,” he said.
Krämer argued that a serious analysis of poverty would involve looking into hardship in real life, such as studies of what people are putting in their shopping trolley.
“But that requires a lot of effort, and for that reason no one does it,” he claimed.