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Every third child in Berlin now dependent on welfare

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Every third child in Berlin now dependent on welfare
Photo: DPA
11:33 CEST+02:00
Child poverty is on the rise across Germany. But in the national capital and Bremen the situation is particularly severe.

Last year 1.54 million German children under the age of 15 were dependent on cash payouts from Hartz IV - the most basic unemployment benefit paid out by the state.

That number was a 2 percent rise on 2014, meaning that 30,000 more children were living in households dependent on the social benefit.

The figures were revealed after Sabine Zimmermann, MP for the Left Party, requested them from the Federal Employment Agency ahead of International Children's Day on June 1st.

“The huge numbers of people on benefits who have children mirrors the tense job market in many regions in which there are far too few jobs and wages are too low,” said Zimmermann.

The numbers show drastic regional differences in levels of this indicator of child poverty.

In Bremen and Berlin, two of Germany's three city states, 31.5 percent of children were dependent on Hartz IV in 2015. Bremen was also the state with highest rise in children dependent on welfare, with 2.1 percent more than in 2014.

In the third of Germany's city states, Hamburg, just over one in five children are dependent on the welfare payment, a similar number to the poor eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt.

But in Bavaria, the powerhouse of the German economy, only 6.5 percent of children are dependent on the payment.

The figures also laid bare the stubborn differences that exist between former West and East Germany.

While in the states of the former West 13 percent of children under 15 are dependent on Hartz IV, in the former east more than 20 percent are.

But, there was also some good news for the 'new states'. Saxony and Brandenburg saw decreases of 0.7 percent each, bucking the nationwide trend.

A coalition of more than 30 charities and unions is now demanding that the government do more to tackle child poverty.

“The current system isn't preventing child poverty from growing. In fact the opposite is true: children from middle class families are still receiving more government support than children from families dependant on Hartz IV,” the coalition said in a statement.

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