Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Germany's Child Poverty

According to a new study, 21 percent of German children and their families live in permanent poverty. Such kids are excluded from lives that many of their peers take for granted. The study defined poor families as those whose income is 60 percent or less of the household average in Germany and families who receive state welfare.

Children whose families are below the poverty line in Germany are likely to stay there. That's the main takeaway of a long-term study commissioned by Germany's Bertelsmann foundation. Kids who are long-term impoverished are less likely to receive a university education, which then often shuts the door to higher-paying jobs. This can repeat across generations.

Bertelsmann listed 23 quality-of-life factors that many impoverished people lack, from adequate, affordable living space to laundry facilities to outdoor areas for children to play, such as a yard or even a balcony. Other items on the list included winter clothing, financial savings, and the means for modest entertainment expenditures, such as inviting friends over for dinner, seeing a film once a month or taking an annual weekly vacation. Children defined by the survey as coming from permanently poor families lack access to an average of about seven of these; those in temporary poverty are missing out on an average of 3.4.

"There are currently 2.7 million children and youth growing up in poverty, and that has far-reaching consequences," Heinz Hilgers, the president of Germany's child protection agency, the DKSB, said in a statement released on Monday. "A child who experiences poverty hardly has a chance of true participation in society. That's especially true if poverty becomes permanent."

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