• Germany's news in English

One fifth of young Germans live in poverty

Julie Colthorpe · 30 May 2014, 13:22

Published: 30 May 2014 13:22 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Germans may be seen as comparatively well-off by the rest of the continent, but the nation's youth are having an increasingly hard time, a new report suggests.

Every fifth teenager in Germany lives in poverty or is on the borderline, according to the Catholic church-funded youth poverty monitor 2014, released on Friday in the southern city of Regensburg.

The annual study, which brings together available statistics and research on young people aged 15 to 24, found that education played a key role in which youngsters would end up in poverty.

Typically those worse affected by youth poverty, the study found, were teenagers with leaving certificates from Hauptschule schools, the lowest rung on the academically-tiered German school system, or those who drop out early.

Education is the best protection against poverty, the report's authors concluded, however access to education in the country is far from equal.

Youth poverty was also more severe in particular areas of Germany.

In the capital Berlin, over 20 percent of young people are thought to be claiming Harz IV unemployment benefits.

In Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate however, there is less youth unemployment, all three states below the nationwide average of 8.9 percent.

This poverty occurs due to the absence of equal opportunities in the German education system, which often results in young people being excluded from society, explained Simon Rapp, Chairman of the Federal Association for Catholic Youth Welfare (BAG KJS), the organization which commissioned the study.

“Poverty is inherited and often passed on to generations from the parents to the children." Rapp said. "The risk of becoming poor and staying poor increases with a migrant background, disability and lack of education. Allowing this to happen is shameful for Germany.”

Story continues below…

“Education and vocational training is too dependent on someone's social origin," he added.

"In order to prevent poverty from becoming purely an inherited problem, we need a right to education that is enshrined in law."

SEE ALSO: Every third child in Berlin lives off benefits

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Julie Colthorpe (julie.colthorpe@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

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