More and more German children live in poverty


Central Europe


Photo ANP, Ramon van Flymen

The number of German families living in poverty is increasing. More than a fifth of the country's children and a quarter of the young adults are at risk of being unable to make ends meet.

That is shown by new research from the Bertelsmann Foundation on Thursday, as reported by Die Tagespost. The Bertelsmann Stiftung used federal data to come to this conclusion.

In 2021, almost 2.9 million children and 1.55 million young adults between 18 and 25 suffered from a lack of money. Furthermore, single parents and larger families have a bigger risk of ending up in poverty. Couples with three or more children are three times as likely to end up in poverty as families with two or fewer children. Of single parents, 41.6 per cent are at risk of poverty. Young people in large, single-parent families have a chance of 86 per cent to end up in poverty.

In general, young adults are the most vulnerable to poverty. The Bertelsmann foundation explains that this is because many of them are in education and moving out for the first time.


Anette Stein, Director of Education and Next Generation of the Bertelsmann Foundation, says that poverty has a significant negative impact on young people. "They suffer daily from deprivation, sacrifice and shame and have significantly poorer prospects for the future", she says. The current crises and inflation only worsen the problem of poverty.

Children are considered to be poor when they receive basic social benefits from the state. Furthermore, they are at risk of poverty if they live in a household with an income less than 60 per cent of the median income of all households in Germany. In 2021, this amounted to 2,066 euros per month for two-parent families with one child under the age of 14. Couples with three children, of whom two are under 14, should earn more than 2,984 euros to get out of the risk zone.

Child benefit

To decrease the negative impact of poverty on families, the German government should intervene quickly, the Catholic Family Association argues. The Association pleads for "prompt political action on many levels." Ulrich Hoffman, the President of the Association, believes it is better for families to secure their own living instead of applying for state benefits. Therefore, she wants the government to keep the system of child allowances, even when introducing basic child security. In addition, she wants more social housing and a reform of student loans.



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