A government report on poverty seen by Tuesday’s Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper said the development “violated the people’s sense of justice.”
The richest ten percent of German households have more than half of the total assets, the report said – taken to include real estate, investments, land or claims from company pensions. And the poorest fifty percent of households have just barely one percent of the net wealth.
The net wealth of German households has doubled in the past two decades, from €4.6 billion to more than €10 billion.
Süddeutsche Zeitung said the report also showed that there was still a wealth gap between people in former eastern Germany and western Germany. West German households had an average net wealth of €132,000, east German households just €55,000.
Private citizens may be getting richer, but the report showed the state was getting poorer. The Labour Department report claimed that net assets of the German state fell by more than €800 billion between early 1992 and early 2012.
It also noted that as part of the rescue efforts during the financial crisis there was “an observable shift of private assets and liabilities in state budgets.”
The report defended the increase in non-traditional employment, including part-time work, and temporary or contract positions, saying these jobs were not created at the expense of normal working conditions.
But the Ministry of Labour did note that: “hourly wages which are insufficient to secure the livelihood of a single person who is working full-time, exacerbates the risk of poverty and weaken social cohesion.”