World Economy

Record Number of Germans Below Poverty Line

Record Number of Germans Below Poverty LineRecord Number of Germans Below Poverty Line

Over 12.5 million Germans are now living below the poverty line which is the highest number on record since reunification 25 years ago.

Berlin, the capital of the eurozone’s economic powerhouse is one of the poorest regions in Germany, Euronews reported Sunday.

The figures come in a report by one of the country’s welfare organizations.

The poverty threshold was calculated at 892 euros a month for a single household and 1,873 euros for a family of four.

Berlin with 21.4 percent falling into the poor category is well above the country’s average while Bavaria has the richest people. Poverty has never been so high and regional disunity has never run so deep said the report.

“Poverty in Germany is not so much an economic problem, but rather a result of political omissions. That has to be said clearly. We would have the chance to fight this poverty as the fifth richest country in the world. But obviously we have extreme problems of distribution in times of increasing prosperity,” said Ulrich Schneider,Head of Germany’s Equal Welfare Organization.

The report highlighted the unemployed as one of the groups most at risk, 40 percent are living in poverty despite receiving social benefits. It also said it did not see any potential advantages from the new minimum wage of 8.50 euros per hour which came into effect in January.

And Germany’s pensioners have suffered a 48 percent increase in poverty in the space of six years and are not getting their share of the country’s economic growth.

The report recommends increasing state welfare payments, an expansion of public employment as well as support programs for single mothers to tackle the poverty problem.

  Gap Widens

The ‘Zeche Minister Stein’ coal mine in Dortmund-Eving, Germany used to extract up to two million tons of anthracite coal at its peak. It was shut down in March 1987. A lot has changed since then.

The Ruhr Region used to be the heart of Germany’s coal and steel industry and was considered by many to be the driving force behind the German economic miracle.

Today, it is one of the country’s poorest areas. Unemployment is about 11 percent, compared with the German average of about 6.8 percent.

The industrial idyll no longer exists. One in five is at risk of poverty, according to the charity Deutsche Paritatische Wohlfahrtsverband in its 2012 report on poverty. Dortmund, at the heart of the Ruhr Region, is home to 580,000 people.