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

    All results in the overview

    Photo by Federico Giampieri on Unsplash

  • Woman standing in front of a house with arms spread out

    The dream of home ownership

    Around 70 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 40 dream of owning their own home. But are people who have achieved this dream actually happier? Researchers at the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA) answered this question with the help of data from the study “Living in Germany”.

    Based on data from more than 800 homeowners, the researchers found that owning a home did indeed lead to greater life satisfaction. However, home ownership did not make people as happy they had previously predicted. The discrepancy between predicted life satisfaction and actual life satisfaction after buying a home was especially large among “status seekers”—people who value money and success relatively highly.

     

     

    Further information

    WirschaftsWoche: Macht der Hauskauf wirklich glücklich?

    IZA Newsroom: Positiver Glückseffekt des Eigenheims wird offenbar überschätzt

    All results in the overview

    Photo by Avin Ezzati on Unsplash

  • Roboter mit Tablet

    Smart Machines

    When people hear the term “artificial intelligence” (AI), they often think of smart robots in a distant future. Yet many people are already using AI in their work today—but without knowing it. These are among the findings of a recent study published as a DIW Berlin Wochenbericht based on data from Living in Germany.

    According to the study, only 20 percent of those surveyed answered “yes” to the direct question of whether they had come into contact with AI at work. However, almost twice as many respondents answered “yes” to indirect questions about AI—for instance, whether they used functions such as speech recognition or automated image processing at work on a daily basis. This shows that many people are unaware that AI is already part of their everyday working lives.

    For many, the topic of AI is linked to the question of whether automation will eliminate jobs. “AI-based systems are being developed to replace some tasks that humans can do,” said DIW researcher Alexandra Fedorets, “they will take over some of the tasks, but by no means all.”

     

    Further information

    DIW Berlin: Künstliche Intelligenz ist für viele Erwerbstätige bereits Teil der alltäglichen Arbeit

    ftd.de: Viele arbeiten mit KI, ohne es zu wissen

    All results in the overview

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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

  • older woman sitting at a table with a laptop

    Working in Retirement

    Some people can hardly wait to retire while others would never consider it. In fact, more and more people are continuing to work after retirement: While 3.3 percent of those over the age of 64 were still working in 2005, 7.8 percent were still working in 2019.

    But are people working in retirement due to financial need, as is commonly believed? Holger Schäfer, an economist at the German Economic Institute in Cologne, has come to a different conclusion based on an analysis of data from Living in Germany. If retirees were working because they needed the money, their pensions would have to have extremely low— but as Schäfer’s analysis shows, this is not the case.

    The results of other studies also suggest that financial motives play a subordinate role. “Previous studies have shown that people enjoy working and being in contact with others, and that this is more important to them than the extra money,” says Holger Schäfer.

    Further information

    Einkommen: Arbeitende Rentner haben überdurchschnittlich viel Geld

    Warum Rentner arbeiten gehen

    All results in the overview

    Photo Anna Shvets on Pexels

  • two women put food in bags

    Making a Difference Through Volunteer Work

    Many organizations and initiatives depend on volunteers –  from sports clubs to volunteer fire departments to refugee aid projects. According to the results of a new study based on data from Living in Germany, currently around one in three people in Germany is involved in volunteer work, and the percentage is rising. People in rural areas are especially active in volunteer activities.

     Volunteerism is higher in more prosperous regions, where the level of education is high and unemployment is low. “In structurally weak rural regions, on the other hand, efforts need to be made to catch up,” says SOEP researcher Luise Burkhardt, who conducted the study together with a colleague at the Thünen Institute. In these regions, migration and population aging as well as a lack of digital infrastructure make it difficult for people to pursue volunteer activities.

    It is striking that volunteerism is more common among men than women. he researchers suspect that the reason could be a persistence of traditional gender roles in rural areas, where women are often still more involved in childcare and housework.


    Further information

    Ehrenamtliche in sehr ländlichen Gegenden besonders engagiert – Männer aktiver als Frauen

    All results in the overview

    Ismael Paramo on Unsplash

  • Mother greets her child

    Most mothers want to work

    Mothers in Germany would like to work more than they are currently able to in many cases. This is among the key findings of a study conducted by economist Wido Geis-Thöne at the German Economic Institute (IW) based on data from “Living in Germany.”

    According to the study, one in four mothers between the ages of 25 and 54 was not currently working. But only 12 percent of these mothers said that this was what they wanted.

    Mothers with small children under the age of three have a particularly hard time pursuing their career goals: Almost 69 percent of these mothers were not employed, but only 27 percent of them said this was what they wanted.

    Why is this the case? “Mothers with children often have more limited job search options. Long commutes are impossible for them, meaning that they have a harder time finding a suitable job,” says Geis-Thöne. Or, he hypothesizes, “they want to work more hours but are only available to work at times that don’t suit the employer.”


    Further information

    Süddeutsche Zeitung: Warum viele Mütter nicht arbeiten – obwohl sie wollen

    Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft: Mütter haben unterschiedliche Erwerbswünsche und erwerbsbezogene Normen

    All results in the overview

    Sai De Silva on Unsplash

  • 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