According to their figures, which reflect studies in 2005, some 13 percent of Germans are poor. This means that one in eight Germans - mainly those who are unemployed, undereducated, immigrants, or single parents - are below the poverty line.
Early figures from 2006, however, show an economic recovery and reduction in unemployment, which the German Labour Ministry says shows "the German welfare state is functioning."
Social transfers like unemployment and childcare benefits have prevented another 13 percent of Germans from falling into poverty, the Labour Ministry said.
But the country's Economy Ministry criticized the comments from Minister of Labour and Social affairs Olaf Scholz, saying he has shown "an overly bleak picture of the social realities in Germany," because the figures are from 2005 and unemployment has since been reduced by two million jobs, broadcaster ARD reported on Wednesday.