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  • Frau mittleren Alters zeigt einer älteren Frau etwas auf einem Smartphone

    The Gender Care Gap

    Childcare, housework, and eldercare—all these domestic tasks are still done primarily by women. In Germany, women perform about one and a half times as much unpaid care work as men according to results of a recently published study based on data from “Living in Germany.”

    Between the ages of 35 and 39, women take on more than twice as much care work as men—and that, in turn, affects their income. DIW researcher Clara Schäper, who worked on the study, says: “Although the amount of care work begins to level out somewhat around the age of 40, the gender care gap has long-term effects on income inequality.” In fact, women in Germany have 18 percent lower hourly wages than men.

    Women spend more time on childcare in particular: Middle-aged women spend around four hours more per day looking after children than men. When it comes to housework, women spend around one hour more than men, but the difference increases with age. The amount of time spent caring for relatives increases with age, but remains significantly lower overall than time spent on housework and childcare.

    Further information

    Tagesspiegel: Kinderbetreuung, Hausarbeit und Pflege: Sorgearbeit ist weiterhin Frauensache

    DIW Berlin: Unterschiede zwischen Frauen und Männern bei Lohn und Sorgearbeit steigen bis zur Lebensmitte stark an

    Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

    All results in the overview

  • Frau steht an einem Pult und hält einen Vortrag

    Women in Management

    Women still make up just one in seven of all board members in Germany’s large corporations. But the good news is that women are catching up. Today, women are being promoted at least as often as men—if they’re working full-time. And in some companies, women’s chances of promotion are even higher. These findings came from a study by Berlin sociologist Katja Schmidt based on data from Living in Germany.

    According to the study, women are being promoted more often than they used to be, while men are being promoted less often. Looking solely at full-time employees, men and women are virtually tied: According to recently released data from 2020, around 7 percent of both men and women hold management positions. “But women are significantly less likely to work full-time than men, which again reduces their overall chances of being promoted to management,” says sociologist Katja Schmidt.

    Further information

    Frankfurter Allgemeine: Fortschritt für die Frauen

    All results in the overview

  • Mann steht auf einem hohen Berg und schaut zur Sonne

    How we grow

    Major life events like getting married, having a baby, or starting to work are widely believed to shape or even change people’s personalities. Researchers analyzing data from the study “Living in Germany” have found that this is only partly true.

    Marriage, for example, does not make people as happy as one might think. The “honeymoon phase” ends after about a year, and spouses end up being approximately as satisfied or dissatisfied as they were before. Separation, on the other hand, can have positive long-term impacts in that it makes people stronger.

    And after becoming parents, people’s lives are turned upside down, but their personalities change very little. “In fact, we mature more after our first job change than we do after the birth of a first child,” says Eva Asselmann, Professor of Differential and Personality Psychology at the HMU Health and Medical University in Potsdam, who conducted the analyses. You can find out more in her book Woran wir wachsen (“How we grow”).

    Further information

    Zeit Online: Der erste Job lässt uns mehr reifen als das erste Kind

    Book Tip:

    Eva Asselmann, Martina Pahr: Woran wir wachsen: Welche Lebensereignisse unsere Persönlichkeit prägen und was uns wirklich weiterbringt. – Die neuesten Erkenntnisse aus der Persönlichkeitspsychologie: Ariston, 2022

    All results in the overview

    Photo by Gaurav K on Unsplash

  • Teen from behind with head bowed


    Looking back, people often remember their teenage years as a happy time full of new adventures, friends, and freedom. But according to a recent study based on data from “Living in Germany” and another long-term survey in the UK, many teenagers experience this phase of life quite differently. The study shows that life satisfaction declines more between the ages of 10 and 14 than in any other phase of life. The research team, led by psychologist Amy Orben from the University of Cambridge, believes that this may be due to an increase in social insecurity or uncertainty during puberty.

    Further information

    Welt: Wieso die Zufriedenheit im Alter von 10 bis 24 Jahren so niedrig ist

    The Royal Society: Trajectories of adolescent life satisfaction

    All results in the overview

    Photo by Jesús Rodríguez on Unsplash

  • Großvater trägt Enkelin auf dem Arm

    Grandchild care

    Grandparents play an important role in the everyday life of many young families: They play with their grandchildren, take them to the doctor, and help with homework. A recent study using data from “Living in Germany” shows that this has not changed even after the increase in the number of daycare spots.

    According to the study, while 9 out of 10 preschool-aged children in Germany are enrolled in daycare, grandparents provide additional care for one in two children under the age of 6. And grandparents care for between 20 and 40 percent of all girls and boys under the age of 10 on a regular basis.

    When grandparents help with childcare, it’s mothers who benefit most: They feel much more satisfied with their childcare situation and with their free time. “And that in turn has a positive effect on the children,” says Katharina Spieß, director of the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB), which led the study.

     Further information

    Süddeutsche Zeitung: Nicht ohne Oma und Opa

    DIW Berlin: Großeltern bleiben trotz Kita-Ausbaus wichtig für Kinderbetreuung

    All results in the overview

    Photo by Isaac Quesada on Unsplash

  • Older woman sitting at the radiator checking a bill

    Rising energy prices

    The German government has invested almost 24 billion euros in relief measures to counter rapidly rising energy prices due to the war in Ukraine. The money is going toward increased social welfare benefits, reduced gas taxes, and a heavily discounted monthly public transport pass. But are these measures actually offsetting the increased costs?

    As data from the study “Living in Germany” show, the increase in energy prices is placing the most severe burden on poorer households. For the poorest 10 percent of the population, the costs of electricity, heat, and fuel will eat up 6.7 percent of net income in the next 12 to 18 months. These households will receive 3.7 percent of that back in the form of government relief, leaving them with an energy burden of 3 percentage points. leaving them with an energy burden of 3 percentage points.

    For the richest 10 percent of households in Germany, energy costs will only consume an additional 2 percent of net income. They will receive 0.7 percent of that back in government relief, leaving them with an energy burden of just 1.3 percentage points.

    “There is a lot to be said for not reducing the tax burden on higher income earners, and in the medium term, for raising taxes on very high incomes and assets,” says economist Stefan Bach of DIW Berlin, who carried out the study with his colleague Jakob Knautz.

    Further information

    DIW Berlin: Hohe Energiepreise: Arme Haushalte trotz Entlastungspaketen am stärksten belastet

    Handelsblatt: Entlastungspakete der Bundesregierung für hohe Energiepreise: Es profitieren die Falschen

    All results in the overview

  • Frau steht am Straßenrand und hält sich ihr Shirt vor die Nase

    Better air quality in cities

    In Germany, “environmental zones” are urban areas where only low-emission vehicles are allowed. The aim in creating these zones is to improve air quality and thus to have a positive impact on people’s health. Yet according to the results of a study based on data from “Living in Germany,” the life satisfaction of city inhabitants actually declines in the first few years after these zones are created.

    “People need about four to five years to get used to environmental zones,” says DIW researcher Nicole Wägner. In her view, the reason for this lies in people’s living situations: People whose mobility is reduced due to an environmental zone or who have to dig deep into their pockets to buy a low-emission car find it more difficult to accept them.

    People under the age of 65 and people with diesel-fueled cars are initially less satisfied when an environmental zone is created. “Younger people have a greater need for mobility and more often have to use a car to get to work. There are stricter standards for diesel-fueled cars in environmental zones than for gas-fueled cars,” explains co-author Luis Sarmiento from the Milan-based RFF-CMCC European Institute on Economics and the Environment.

    Further information

    DIW Berlin: Trotz besserer Luft: Umweltzonen verschlechtern temporär Lebenszufriedenheit der AnwohnerInnen

    All results in the overview

  • 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 Viele arbeiten mit KI, ohne es zu wissen

    All results in the overview


  • 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

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

    Hans-Böckler-Stiftung: 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

    Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft (IW): Einkommen: Arbeitende Rentner haben überdurchschnittlich viel Geld

    Süddeutsche Zeitung: 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 –wpml_nbsp 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. It is not only migration and an ageing population, but also a lack of digital infrastructure that contribute to the fact that fewer people are able to get involved.

    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

    DIW Berlin: 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