More than every second child (62 percent) is at risk of poverty if the mother doesn’t have a job, according to the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the organization which mandated the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) to carry out the research.
According to the organization, the traditional model of having one breadwinner to support the family – which is still quite common in Germany – is no longer sufficient.
For single mothers, the situation is even more serious. If a single mother is unemployed, her children have a 96 percent chance of living in poverty. Conversely, if a single mother works full time, her children have a slim risk of growing up permanently poor – but even then 16 percent of kids are temporarily poor.
The study defines children as poor when their families have less than 60 percent of the median disposable net household income of the total population or who receive basic social security provisions such as Hartz IV. Poverty in Germany moreover doesn’t necessarily mean being “homeless or hungry,” the organization writes.
Growing up poor can mean that the young person's chances of taking part in social activities and clubs is significantly affected. As well, it can affect the child's ability to make friends and make them feel like they don't belong to society.
“We have to take steps to enable mothers to work,” said Jörg Dräger, board member of the Bertelsmann Stiftung, adding that children have to be supported in such a way “so as not to be excluded from social life – independant of their parents.”
With the aim of reducing child poverty, the organization proposes the development of new family policy measures which are more effective than existing policies.
To complete the study, which is part of the project “Living conditions of children in low income families,” survey data was annually collected from 15,000 people aged 15 and over since 2006.