Germany is facing a rising poverty gap with at least a quarter of the 95 regions in Germany experiencing an increase in poverty rates, inching up to 20% over the last decade, according to the German Parity Welfare Association’s poverty report published Thursday.
Urging the government to do more in their battle against poverty, the study pinpointed the Ruhr region in North Rhine-Westphalia to be “problem region number one.” The region has a poverty rate of 21.1% with about 5.8 million inhabitants. The elderly and youth were specifically mentioned to be at greater risk of poverty.
Deutsche Welle’s analysis of the report highlighted the growing inequality between regions by quoting Ulrich Schneider, the chief executive of the association. "Despite the good news that the national poverty rate has dropped to 15.5%, the gap between affluent regions on the one hand and poverty-stricken regions on the other is growing steadily and clearly," Schneider said. According to the report, the lowest poverty rate is experienced in Bavaria with 11.7% and the highest in Bremen with 22.7%. The argument claiming that the divide solely existed between the richer west and the poorer east has lost its validity, Schneider said.
Germany defines the poverty line by how far household income enables someone to have a place in society by participating in it. Whoever has less than 60% of the average income at their disposal in the specific region that they’re residing in, is currently counted as an individual who’s at risk of poverty.