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1 in 7 German children growing up poor

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1 in 7 German children growing up poor
Photo: DPA
11:41 CEST+02:00
The number of children living on the basic welfare payments known as Hartz IV may be shrinking, but latest figures from the Federal Employment Agency (BA) show that one in seven German children is still dependent on those benefits.

The problem of child poverty is spread unevenly around the country, the Saarbrücker Zeitung reported on Thursday. In the southern state of Bavaria, the figure is just 6.8 percent, but in the German capital Berlin, more than a third of children rely on Hartz IV.

More than 1.6 million children under the age of 15 receive welfare payments nationwide – though that marks a drop of over 81,000 kids since 2005, the year Hartz IV was introduced.

But Sabine Zimmermann, social affairs expert for the socialist Left party, told the paper that the trend does not reflect a drop in the number of needy children in Germany overall.

“Unfortunately, it's still the case in Germany that poverty poses the biggest risk to children,” she said.

Though fewer children are on Hartz IV compared to seven years ago, Zimmermann said more and more families are taking advantage of the children's allowance, or Kinderzuschlag. These payments go to parents who make enough money to support themselves, but who would otherwise depend on Hartz IV to support their children.

More than five times as many children – or more than 210,000 – received those payments in August 2012, compared to the end of 2005, when the figure was just under 41,000.

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