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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Germany / Deutschland –

Source: Destatis Federal Statistical Office

Press release No.N 062 from September 30, 2020

The at-risk-of-poverty rate increased by 4.7 percentage points to 15.7% between 2005 and 2019
Generation 65 plus was recently less at risk of poverty in eastern federal states than in the west (rates in 2019: 13.8% and 16.2%)
The proportion of people of retirement age who received basic security rose from 1.7% at the end of 2003 to 3.2% in December 2019; Quota lower in the east

The population in eastern federal states has been aging particularly rapidly since 1990: the share of the 65 plus generation rose from 13.8% to 26.0% in 2019

WIESBADEN – The 65 plus generation in Germany is increasingly threatened by old-age poverty. As reported by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), the proportion of people over 64 who are at risk of poverty as measured by the federal median has risen by 4.7 percentage points to 15.7% in 2019 in the past 15 years. In no other age group was the Increase since 2005 so big. Overall, the at-risk-of-poverty rate rose by 1.2 percentage points to 15.9% in the same period. The at-risk-of-poverty rate, an indicator for measuring relative income poverty, was therefore almost as high for people over 64 years of age in 2019 as it was for the population as a whole.

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The increase in the at-risk-of-poverty rates for the 65+ generation is similarly high in the western and eastern federal states (including Berlin) in the period under review, but there are differences in comparison to the risk of poverty across all age groups. In the west, the at-risk-of-poverty rate for over 64-year-olds has increased by 4.6 percentage points since 2005 to 16.2% in 2019 and is thus even just above the at-risk-of-poverty rate for all age groups in the west combined. In the east, an increase of 4.9 percentage points to 13.8% could be measured in the same period. However, this value is 4.1 percentage points below the at-risk-of-poverty rate for all age groups in the East. It is noticeable that the increase in the risk of poverty in the 65 plus generation in the east runs counter to the overall trend observed there. The at-risk-of-poverty rate decreased across all age groups in the east: from 20.4% in 2005 to 17.9% in 2019.

The increase in the risk of poverty for the 65 plus generation in the eastern federal states is essentially based on the development among men in this age group. While in 2005 they still had a relatively low at-risk-of-poverty rate of 5.9%, which at 14.4 percentage points was significantly below the rate in the east as a whole, this rose by 7.1 percentage points to 13.0% by 2019. This value was only 4.9 percentage points lower than that for eastern Germany as a whole. For comparison: the at-risk-of-poverty rate for women over 64 years in the east rose from 10.9% to 14.4%. So it started at a higher starting value and increased less strongly than the comparison values ​​for the men in the age group.

The highest risk of poverty in 2019 in Saarland and lowest in Brandenburg

A look at the individual federal states reveals that the highest risk of poverty for older people was 15 years ago as well as most recently in Saarland (2019: 18.4%), in Rhineland-Palatinate (17.8%) and in Bavaria (17.5%) %) duration. Last year it was lowest in Brandenburg (12.5%), Schleswig-Holstein (13.0%), Thuringia and Saxony (each 13.4%). Since 2005, the at-risk-of-poverty rate has risen particularly sharply in the eastern city-state of Berlin (+7.4 points to 14.8%) and in the most populous area in the west, in North Rhine-Westphalia (+7.1 points to 16.8%).

3.2% of people of retirement age received basic security at the end of 2019

Those who cannot make a living themselves in old age receive the so-called basic security in old age according to the fourth chapter of SGB XII. The number of recipients of retirement age, which was 65 up to 2012 and has been gradually increased since then, has more than doubled nationwide since the benefit was introduced in 2003: from 258,000 at the end of 2003 to 562,000 at the end of last year . This increase is also due to the growing number of people of retirement age in Germany. However, more people of retirement age are now dependent on social benefits than 17 years ago: their share rose from 1.7% at the end of 2003 to 3.2% in December last year.

However, there are clear differences between the federal states. Older people in the city-states are particularly often dependent on basic security, especially in Hamburg. One reason for this could be the higher cost of living in cities. Around every twelfth person over the age limit living in Hamburg received basic old-age security (8.5%) in December 2019 – the highest value in a comparison of the federal states. In Bremen (6.9%) and Berlin (6.6%) the rate of recipients of basic security in old age was also above average.

Subscription rates for basic security in old age are lower in the east

In contrast, the eastern German states do relatively well, even if the number of recipients of basic security in old age has also increased sharply there since 2003. However, the basic security rate of people of retirement age was significantly lower than in the west. Most recently it ranged between 1.0% in Thuringia and 1.6% in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. In the western federal states, North Rhine-Westphalia had the highest proportion of people with basic social security in the corresponding age group (4.3%) at the end of 2019. The proportion was lowest in Baden-Württemberg (2.5%).

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Share of over 64 year olds lowest in Hamburg in 2019 with 18.2%

The significant increase in the risk of poverty among the elderly is all the more significant in the eastern federal states as the population there is aging particularly strongly. There are many reasons for this: They range from the emigration of mostly young people to the western federal states and low immigration from abroad to declining birth rates and increased life expectancy. While the proportion of people over 64 years of age in Germany in 1990, at 13.8%, was still below that in the western countries (15.3%), it is now significantly higher. In 2019, more than a quarter of people in the east were older than 64 years (26.0%), in the west it was slightly more than a fifth (21.1%). The proportion of over 64-year-olds was particularly high in Saxony-Anhalt last year (27.0%), the lowest in Hamburg at 18.2%.

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This trend will continue over the next few decades. The proportion of people over 64 years of age in eastern Germany is likely to rise to over 30% by 2030 and then remain at this level. In western Germany it is expected to increase to 25% in 2030 and 28% in 2040. In a state comparison, Saxony-Anhalt with a share of over 64 year olds of around 33% and Hamburg with a share of 22% would retain their position as the demographically “oldest” and “youngest” federal state.

Share of over 64-year-olds in Germany above the EU average

In a European comparison, Germany, with a share of over 64 year olds of 21.5% last year, was above the EU-27 average (20.3%). This age group was more represented Data from the EU statistical agency Eurostat according to only Italy (22.8%), Greece (22.0%) and Portugal and Finland (both 21.8%). For comparison: in Ireland only about one in seven people was 65 years of age or older (14.1%) last year.

The aging of society will also progress at European level by the year 2040: According to projections, the average proportion of the 65+ generation in the total population in the 27 EU member states will rise to 27.6%. In countries like Italy (32.0%), Portugal (30.6%) or Greece (30.4%), almost every third inhabitant is older than 64 years. In Ireland, which continues to have the lowest proportion of older people, a fifth of the population is expected to be 65 and older (21.0%).

Methodological notes:

The data on the at-risk-of-poverty rate come from the microcensus. The basis of the risk of poverty published here is the risk of poverty threshold at federal level (federal median), which is uniform for the federal and state levels and thus enables a regional comparison. Several data sources from official statistics can be used to calculate at-risk-of-poverty rates. At the European level and at the federal level (especially in the poverty and wealth report of the federal government), the statistics “Living in Europe” (EU-SILC) are used as the data basis for calculating indicators on income poverty and distribution. According to the results of the EU-SILC survey, based on the 2018 reporting year, the nationwide at-risk-of-poverty rate was 16.0%. It should be noted that the microcensus and EU-SILC differ both in terms of the underlying income concept and income recording as well as in terms of the sample design. EU-SILC cannot be used to present comparable indicators at federal state level, as the sample is not large enough to show the indicators for smaller federal states.

The needs-weighted income (equivalent income) used to determine the so-called at-risk-of-poverty threshold is calculated on the basis of the new OECD scale developed in 1994. After this, the first adult person in the household is assigned the required weight 1. Smaller weights are used for the other members of the household (0.5 for other people from 14 years of age and 0.3 for every child under 14 years of age) because it is assumed that savings can be achieved by doing business together.

At-risk-of-poverty rates are not very robust compared to sample-induced fluctuations in mean income (median). This means that even small random fluctuations in this income can result in marked changes in the at-risk-of-poverty rate. Therefore, stable developments should only be interpreted in terms of content over a longer period of time. This applies in particular to relative poverty risk rates of small population groups or to results that are deeply structured by region.

People who have reached the age limit in accordance with Section 41 (2) SGB XII and cannot secure their livelihood from their own income and assets receive basic security in old age. People born before 1947 reached the age limit of 65 years. For those born in 1947 and later, the age limit has been gradually increased to 67 since 2012. In December 2019, the age limit was 65 years and 8 months.

Long-term population projections are not forecasts. They provide “if-then statements” and show how the population and its structure would change under certain assumptions. In the variant of the 14th coordinated population projection used here, a moderate development in the frequency of births, life expectancy and external migration was assumed.

Additional Information:

Further information and animated graphics are available in the subject area for population projection “Population projection – results of the 14th coordinated population projection”as well as in table segment 12421 of the GENESIS database.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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