The number of people receiving state benefits in former East German cities are still considerably higher than the national average. In the capital Berlin, for example, every fifth resident (19.9 percent) needed government support to survive.
Meanwhile the relatively wealthy southern states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg had rates of five and 5.4 percent respectively, meaning every twentieth resident received welfare benefits.
Of the people in Germany who received welfare benefits, some 75 percent were on unemployment benefits known generally as Hartz IV. That accounted for €36.3 billion in 2007.
One quarter could not work due to old age or health reasons and received €4.1 billion in Sozialhilfe. Asylum seekers received €800 million in aid.