The Bertelsmann Foundation evaluated the financial security of residents from state to state, and found that 20 percent of those in Berlin were dependent on state assistance between 2006 and 2008. By contrast, researchers found that in the southern states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, only an average of 5 percent of residents needed welfare aid.
The study took financial security, income, and employment into account for its analysis, discovering major disparities between the north and south, and the east and west.
One cause for lower financial well being in former East Germany is a high number of young single parents there, as the study found these people much more threatened by poverty than those in partnerships.
In the formerly eastern states some 35 percent of parents under the age of 20 raise their children alone, while in the west the highest percentage in 22.3 percent in Saarland.
Meanwhile a separate study from the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) done for the Hans Böckler Foundation published this week found that retirement provisions for pensioners also vary greatly according to occupational and regional differences in the country.
Public employees, or Beamte, receive some of the richest pensions at an average of €502,000, well above the country average of €233,000. But retirees in the former east can expect to average just €190,000 compared to an average of €350,000 in former West Germany.
“The strong effect in West Germany is due to company pensions and public worker pensions that are not as widespread in East Germany,” the DIW study said.
The study also warned that more people would be threatened by poverty in their old age due to increased unemployment and reduced public benefits.
“Supplementary private pension plans will become more important after reforms to old age insurance,” DIW expert Markus Grabka said, adding that low income earners usually don't have extra cash for these precautions.