Widening gap between rich and poor in Germany

Sep 18, 2012 12:00 AM

Economic inequality is increasing in Germany as the country's rich benefit disproportionally more from rising wealth, a new report has found. Worrying, too are dwindling state assets and public properties.
In the past 20 years, private net worth has more than doubled: from EUR 4.6 trillion ($ 6 trillion) in 1992 to approximately EUR 10 trillion in 2012, according to an article published by the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The divide between rich and poor

The newspaper quoted from a draft of the "German Poverty and Wealth Report", compiled by the Labor Ministry and scheduled to be published soon. The report has found that Germany's super rich have become continuously more so over the past two decades.
In 1998, 45 percent of Germany's total wealth was owned by the wealthiest 10 percent, the report found. Ten years later, the number had risen to 53 percent.

By comparison, the bottom half of German households control a mere 1 percent of all wealth.
Moreover, income inequality is worsening, according to the report. Though salaries of the rich have increased steadily over the years, because of inflation a loss of real income has been observed in the bottom 40 percent of full-time workers.

Especially worrying are the findings on the wealth of the state and public authorities. Between 1992 and 2012, state assets and property declined by more than EUR 800 billion in value. The Labor Ministry warns that these developments are particularly detrimental for the general "sense of fairness” among the population.
On the upside, the Labor Ministry found that the gap between West Germany and the formerly communist East has become smaller. The average household in Germany's East now has EUR 55,000 in property and financial assets.

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