Category / Corona Pandemic / Health / Society

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  • Frau steht mit dem Rücken zur Kamera am Strand und hält einen Kaffee in der Hand

    Researching Loneliness

    Prior to the pandemic, 14% of people living in Germany felt lonely at least every once in a while. This figure had risen to 42% in 2021. Before Covid, loneliness mainly affected people over the age of 75 years, women, people with a low income and low educational status, people with a migration background, and unemployed people. Today, loneliness is more widespread, affecting more and more young people and couples with children, among others. Social differences, such as income, play less of a role in the experience of loneliness than before.

    “Living in Germany” provides the data for a broad initiative of the German government, the “Strategy against Loneliness.” The aim is to increase knowledge about loneliness, thus finding pathways to provide prevention and relief. Loneliness is associated with high health risks: If it persists over a longer period of time, it promotes both mental and physical illnesses. It leads to less life satisfaction and a lower general sense of well-being. People suffering from loneliness are more likely to have depression and sleep problems, alongside an increased risk of coronary heart disease, strokes, or heart attacks.

    Further information

    Kompetenznetzwerk Einsamkeit: Epidemiologie von Einsamkeit in Deutschland (pdf)

    Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend: Wissen zu Einsamkeit vertiefen

    National Geographic: Die Vermessung der deutschen Einsamkeit

    All results in the overview

    Image by Pexels from Pixabay

  • Menschen mit verschiedenen Hautfarben tragen eine Maske

    Migration and Covid-19

    By the end of October 2021, more than four million people in Germany had been infected with Corona. In order to be able to investigate possible differences in infections and vaccinations between people with and without migration experience, the antibody study “Corona Monitoring bundesweit” (RKI-SOEP-2) was conducted. All participants of the survey “Living in Germany” 2021 were invited to participate in the antibody study.

    At the time of the survey in October 2021, most of the people in Germany had already come into contact with the spike protein of the Corona virus at least twice through vaccinations and/or infections, i.e. were already immunized. The proportion of those who had already come into contact with the virus at least twice was higher among persons without migration experience than among persons with migration experience (90 versus 82 percent). This difference is due to the higher vaccination rate among persons without migration experience. In addition, persons with migration experience had already contracted Corona twice as often as persons without migration experience (8 versus 4 percent).

    In their research report, the two researchers Dr. Manuel Siegert (BAMF-FZ) and Laura Goßner (IAB) show that the difference in the frequency of infection is not due to the migration experience per se, but to the different life circumstances, such as the residential, professional and family situation. For this reason, the researchers recommend that the respective living conditions of the group of people to be protected be taken into account when adopting protective measures and health campaigns.

    The RKI-SOEP-2 study was conducted jointly by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), the Research Center of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF-FZ) and the Institute for Employment Research (IAB).

    Further information

    Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge (BAMF): Studie zum Infektionsrisiko für COVID-19-Erkrankungen

    All results in the overview

  • Mother and infant in a stretcher

    How trust influences vaccination readiness

    When social trust is high, people are more inclined to collaborate—even in crisis situations. This mechanism has been at work during the pandemic, according to results of a special survey of more than 12,000 participants in the long-term study “Living in Germany”.

    According to this special survey on life in Germany during COVID-19, trust has been high during the pandemic. In fact, social trust increased between February 2020 and June 2021. The results show how important trust has been in overcoming the pandemic: People with higher trust in others are more likely to get vaccinated against COVID-19. They are also more likely to follow COVID-19 rules such as “keep a safe distance,” “wash your hands,” and “wear a mask.”

    Further information

    DIW Berlin: Corona-Pandemie: Vertrauensvolle Menschen sind eher zur Impfung bereit und halten sich eher an AHA-Regeln

    All results in the overview

    Photo by Marcin Jozwiak on Unsplash

  • young men with mask

    Pandemic Job Loss Higher Among Refugees

    Immigrants often hold temporary jobs in sectors like food service and hospitality, and many had only been working for a short time when the pandemic hit. As a result, immigrants were 2.5 times more likely than other workers to lose their jobs during COVID-19. Pandemic job loss was even higher among refugees. Researchers at the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) produced these insights into the employment effects of the pandemic based on data from the study “Living in Germany.”

    One reason for the higher job loss among refugees lies in the different types of work that immigrants and non-immigrants do. Immigrants, and refugees in particular, often have jobs that cannot be done from home. According to study results, only three percent of refugees were able to work from home during the pandemic.

    All results in the overview

    Photo by Thirdman von Pexels

  • Coin Stack

    How has the pandemic affected household income?

    The income gap between high and low-income households has narrowed over the course of the pandemic. But this is not because things have improved for people on the lower end of the income distribution, as one would have hoped. Instead it is because self-employed people,  who are usually among the better-off, have suffered in the wake of measures to combat the virus. The resulting narrowing of the income gap is therefore bad news rather than good.

    “If the pandemic drags on well into this year, and if measures to contain it are tightened again, this could bring about rising bankruptcy and unemployment,” says SOEP expert Markus Grabka, who conducted the study.

    His analyses show that monthly net household incomes of the self-employed fell by an average of 16 percent, or 460 euros, during the second lockdown compared with 2019. In contrast, salaried employees and civil servants saw a 5 percent increase in household income in nominal terms. In the remaining households, there was no change in income on average.

    Further information

    DIW Berlin: Corona pandemic reduces income inequality

    SZ: Income inequality down in Corona pandemic

    All results in the overview

  • sleeping woman with glasses

    How are people doing in the pandemic?

    Over the course of the Corona pandemic, people have become less satisfied overall. Leisure activities and family life are a source of frustration for many.
    The good news is that for many people, satisfaction in certain areas of life has increased during the pandemic. Many adults rate both their health and their sleep as significantly better than before.

    According to SOEP director Stefan Liebig, “When faced with the threat of the pandemic, you can disregard the little twinge in your back.” He also offers an explanation for the increase in satisfaction with sleep: “Working from home eliminates the need for long commutes to work.” These are just some of the results of an additional telephone survey of more than 12,000 “Living in Germany” respondents on the topic of life during the COVID-19 pandemic.    

    Further information

    Berliner Zeitung: Wie geht es uns in der Pandemie?

    SOEP-CoV Spotlight: Während der Corona-Pandemie sind die Menschen zunehmend unzufrieden mit der Freizeit, aber weiterhin zufrieden mit ihrem Schlaf

    All results in the overview

    Photo by Isabella and Zsa Fischer on Unsplash

  • Refugees’ mental health is suffering during the pandemic

    The pandemic has exacerbated feelings of loneliness in many people. Since the pandemic, the non-migrant population reports levels of loneliness that are as high as those reported by refugees for a number of years previous to the pandemic.  of years previous to the pandemic.“

    The study also shows that refugees continue to experience more psychological problems, such as depression and anxiety, than non-migrants.

    The reason is suspected to lie in a lack of social participation, since those who have a job are less lonely. Even having better German language skills or a higher household income alleviates feelings of loneliness in refugees.

    Based on these findings, the research team has called for better language-learning programs and improved access to the labor market for refugees.

    Further information

    DIW Berlin (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung): Refugees’ mental health during the coronavirus pandemic: psychological distress and continued loneliness

    Der Spiegel: Eine Epidemie namens Einsamkeit

    All results in the overview