• Germany's news in English

Are Germans poor in European terms?

The Local · 29 Mar 2013, 14:48

Published: 29 Mar 2013 14:48 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Figures contained in the report "Households and their finances" showed that the average value of assets per household was significantly lower in Germany than in France, Spain, Italy and Austria.

Commentators were swift to put the figures in the context of Germany’s role in the eurozone crisis. Television channel RTL reported on ordinary hard-working Germans supporting their much wealthier European counterparts.

Joachim Poß, parliamentary member of the centre–left SPD party, said “Before European taxpayers’ money is paid out, countries that want to help should pay more attention to private wealth.”

But the applicability of the figures produced by the Bundesbank is limited on a number of levels. The data from Spain dates back to 2008, before the housing market collapsed. "Average" household wealth was measured by the median, which is the value in the middle when figures are listed in ascending order, rather than the mean, which is the figure landed at when all values are divided by the number of households in question.

While both Germany’s mean and median values are low in comparison to other countries, the difference in the median value is more marked. The data also did not take into account pensions and social welfare payments.

Home ownership, which is far less common in Germany than elsewhere in Europe, is likely to have had a big impact on the figures.

While the effects of Germany's robust economy may not be being felt on the ground, a separate report released last week found that Germans were at less risk of poverty than the EU as a whole.

Story continues below…

The Local/kkf

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

17:47 March 29, 2013 by Englishted
Please stop the spinning I'm getting giddy and sick.
19:14 March 29, 2013 by Kennneth Ingle
It is always a question of averages and these reflect only part of the truth. There is plenty of wealth in Germany, but most of it is in the hands of a lucky few. The normal working citizens are left with the debts made by a series of governments which have in vain tried to buy the friendship of other states.
20:51 March 29, 2013 by ovalle3.14
This is certainly not a poor country, and on a macro scale it is a very rich country indeed, but if you believe what the official sources feed you, you'd think all of us working in this country are getting richer by the hour when the truth is somewhat different.

Like Mr. Ingle above put it, this wealth is staying in the hands of a few individuals.
14:38 March 30, 2013 by Englishted

The wealth is not just staying in the hands of a few ,that few are increasing the gap year on year often by pushing the poorest in society closer to poverty .

A trend that is being repeated across the developed world, we seem to be going backwards not forwards .
15:55 March 30, 2013 by Tilak RaJ
It is like every where here in Germany also the same things, that wealth is staying in the hands of a few individuals.
07:36 March 31, 2013 by owlguard
I have to agree with #1. The article was so full of spin that it was obviously done to confuse and defuse what would otherwise be a very insulting report. Germany who is being asked to come up with more money to support countries who citizens are better off than they are.

I would like to hear from German citizens and what they think of this report.
08:20 March 31, 2013 by Wolfgang Fritz
I also agree in that this is misleading the public, to claim Germans with such low unemployment are worst off than those with such high unemployment.

To end with that they are not, however, subject to poverty contradicts the initial premise in that they worst off.
21:40 March 31, 2013 by tangledeuro
Germans keep calm and hide all the Money..let them finish their study with a wrong result..!!
15:43 April 3, 2013 by veronica22
give me just 1 piece of 500 euro paper every month , am just very happy and satisfied to deal with it ~~~~~
Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd