Category / Income and assets / Society

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  • Young and older man fishing

    Taxes and transfers

    Relationships are all about give and take, and so is the one between the government and the people. In childhood, people are on the receiving end of government services such as school and daycare. When they reach working age, they have to start giving back by paying taxes. In old age, the relationship flips again, and the government pays their pensions.

    How exactly this give-and-take evolves over the life course depends on where people live and what kind of education they have. There are also differences between men and women.

    Researchers at the German Economic Institute (IW) in Cologne have developed an interactive graphic based on data from the study Living in Germany that shows what these relationships look like in detail.

    Further information

    Frankfurter Allgemeine: Wer den Staat finanziert und wer profitiert

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    Photo by Federico Giampieri on Unsplash

  • Frau und Mann mittleren Alters füllen ein Formular aus

    Who does what to prepare for old age?

    Few can afford to invest in real estate, and there is no guarantee that government pension funds will be able to cover younger generations when they retire. A study based on data from “Living in Germany” and published by ZEIT online shows how people in Germany are providing for old age instead.

    According to the study’s findings, men are more likely to invest for retirement than women, and academics and higher earners are more likely to invest in financial assets and insurance than others.

    In addition, they ways people prepare for retirement depend on their age: Almost half of people over the age of 51 have financial investments such as stocks, savings bonds, or investment certificates, whereas younger people tend to rely on pension insurance.

    People in the former East Germany also tend more to rely on pension insurance than those in the West, with 36 percent in the East and 33 percent in the West holding pension or life insurance policies. This could be because people in the former East Germany have fewer alternatives, as they are less likely to own real estate than people in the former West.

    Further information

    Zeit Online: Wer sorgt wie fürs Alter vor?

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  • Woman caring for elderly gentleman with cane, she supports him and carries his shopping bag

    Low-income workers need supportive care services six years earlier

    New analyses based on data from the study Living in Germany show that people with lower incomes have a higher risk of needing supportive care and nursing services. Men at risk of poverty are likely to need care almost six years earlier than higher-earning men, while women need care around three and a half years earlier.

    Occupation also plays a role. On average, blue-collar workers need supportive care and nursing services about four years earlier than civil servants. In addition, men and women with high-stress jobs need supportive care and nursing services on average 4.7 and 2.7 years earlier, respectively.

    “In Germany, there is social inequality not just in income and life expectancy, but also in the risk of needing care,” says DIW expert Peter Haan, who worked with colleagues from the SOEP in conducting the study.

    Further information

    FAZ.net: Ärmere werden häufiger und früher pflegebedürftig

    DIW Berlin: Ärmere Menschen werden häufiger und früher pflegebedürftig als Besserverdienende

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  • Woman with an apron pushes a cart with towels

    Higher Wages

    The likely future coalition partners in the German government—SPD, Greens, and FDP—want to raise the statutory minimum wage to 12 euros per hour in their first year as governing coalition. This could benefit women in particular, as well as people working in retail, catering, healthcare, and building maintenance. These findings are the result of a study by researchers from the Hans Böckler Foundation’s Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI) based on data from Living in Germany and the Federal Statistical Office.

    According to the study, 7.3 million people currently earn less than 12 euros an hour in their main job and another 1.3 million in a second job. Of these approximately 8.6 million people who would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage, around two-thirds are women.

     

    Further information

    Frauen, Einzelhandel, Gastronomie: Wer besonders von der Anhebung des Mindestlohns profitieren würde

    Rund 8,6 Millionen Beschäftige verdienen aktuell weniger als 12 Euro in der Stunde – vor allem in Jobs ohne Tarifvertrag

     

    All results in the overview

  • 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

  • Interviewer questioning senior citizen

    How rich are you?

    How rich are you compared to others? With an interactive calculator based on the study “Living in Germany,” you can find out where you lie in the income distribution in Germany, and how much of the population is better or worse off than you. The calculator takes into account income, assets, but also your housing situation. The interactive calculator on ZEIT online was developed by a research team led by Bremen sociologist Olaf Groh-Samberg.

    ZEIT Online: Wie wohlhabend sind Sie?

    All results in the overview