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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Germany / Deutschland –

Source: Destatis Federal Statistical Office

Press release No.N 076 from November 19, 2020

In 2019, the risk of poverty and social exclusion for under 18-year-olds in Germany was 2.3 percentage points lower than in the previous year
Only 15% of the 55,500 cases of child welfare were made public in 2019 from within the affected family
More than a third of the population in Germany lived in a family with at least one child in 2019

WIESBADEN – On International Children’s Rights Day on November 20, the focus is on the safe growing up of children and adolescents, even during the corona pandemic. Even before the outbreak of the Corona crisis, almost every seventh child in Germany was at risk of poverty and social exclusion. As reported by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), this share of 15.0% (2.1 million) of under 18-year-olds in 2019 was lower than in previous years. In 2018, 17.3% of children and young people were still at risk of poverty and social exclusion; in 2010 it was 21.7%.

The risk of poverty for children in Germany in 2019 was well below the EU average

On November 20, 1989, the United Nations passed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which guarantees minors fundamental rights of protection, promotion and participation in 54 articles. Articles 26 and 27, for example, enshrine the right to social security benefits and decent living conditions. Compared with other member states of the European Union, the risk of poverty and social exclusion for under 18-year-olds in Germany is relatively low at 15%. Last year the proportion was only lower in Slovenia (11.7%), the Czech Republic (13.0%), Denmark (13.2%) and Finland (14.3%). On average in the EU-27, almost every fourth child was at risk of poverty (22.5%). Their share was highest in the southern European countries Romania (35.8%), Bulgaria (33.9%), Italy (30.6% in 2018), Greece (30.5%) and Spain (30.3% ).

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More than 150 cases of child welfare at risk every day

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child also guarantees minors the right to protection from violence, mistreatment, neglect and abuse (Articles 19 and 34). In Germany, the youth welfare offices are active in their protective function every year thousands of times because this right is being attacked – with an upward trend recently. In the past year alone, 55,500 children and adolescents were found to be at risk of child welfare, which corresponds to an average of 152 boys and girls affected per day. The reasons for this were neglect, as in 58% of the cases, psychological (32%) or physical abuse (27%) and sexual violence (5%). In total, there were 10% more cases than the year before. The number of children affected had already increased significantly from 2017 to 2018 – also by 10%.

The youth welfare offices often receive information on such cases of child welfare from people and institutions outside the children’s private sphere – from areas that are sometimes only able to work to a limited extent due to the corona pandemic. Last year, the information came from social institutions such as counseling centers and child and youth welfare institutions (12,000 cases) in a good fifth of cases. Every sixth affected child was drawn to attention from schools and daycare centers (9600 cases), and every 14th by members of the health staff – such as doctors and midwives. In only 15% of all cases of child welfare risk, the information came from the person concerned or from their own family (8,600 cases).

29% of children grow up in a risk situation with regard to their educational path

The children’s right to education is anchored in Article 28 of the UN Convention. Accordingly, the contracting states undertake to give all children equal access to all educational institutions and to ensure equal opportunities. In Germany, the public budgets in 2019 provided for education expenditure of 5,900 euros per inhabitant under 30 years of age and 4.3% of the gross domestic product (GDP), which is significantly more than ten years earlier: In 2009, education expenditure was still up just under 3,900 euros per capita and 4.1% of GDP. These are used, among other things, to expand and maintain a broad network of educational institutions for children and young people: In the 2018/19 school year, around 99,000 educational institutions in Germany – day care centers, general education schools, vocational schools and universities – were occupied by 17.3 million people visited. Both values ​​increased in a ten-year comparison: the number of educational institutions rose by 3.7% compared with 2008/09, and that of participants by 2.4% in the same period. This is due in particular to the growth in child day care and higher education.

The educational process of children and young people in Germany, however, depends on their family background. The educational reporting group of authors names three structural characteristics – the educational level of the parents, the socio-economic status of the family and the status of parental participation in the labor market – from which three types of risk situations for the educational success of a child can be derived: formally low-qualified parents and the social and financial risk situation . According to this, almost every or every third person under the age of 18 in Germany was affected by one of these risk situations in 2018 (29%). All three risk situations applied to 4% of the children and adolescents.

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In Corona times with non-attendance classes and temporary school closings, access to education also depends on the digital equipment of families. This varies depending on the household income. For example, families with a high net income (5,000 to 18,000 euros) had an average of almost four PCs at their disposal in 2019 – whether stationary or mobile as a laptop or tablet. In the lowest income group (less than 2,000 euros) there were only a good two such devices on average. On average, families had a total of around three computers in 2019.

16% of underage children from families live with single parents

More than a third of the population in Germany lives in a family with at least one minor: In total, this applied to 29.7 million people. Still 389,000 people lived with at least five children and adolescents in one family. Of the 13.5 million children and adolescents under 18 who lived in households in Germany in 2019, the vast majority (84%) were at home in a family with two parents. 16% lived with single fathers or mothers.

Methodological note:

According to the EU definition for EU-SILC (European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions), poverty or social exclusion exists if one or more of the three criteria “at risk of poverty”, “considerable material deprivation”, “household with very low labor force participation” “Are available. EU-SILC is the EU-wide comparable data source on income, poverty and living conditions in Europe. Uniform definitions and minimum methodological standards apply to statistics in all Member States. The official survey, the implementation and processing of which is the responsibility of the Member States, has been carried out annually in Germany since 2005 under the name LEBEN IN EUROPA as a voluntary survey of around 14,000 private households.

A child’s well-being is at risk if significant damage to the physical, mental or emotional well-being of a child is imminent or has already occurred. In suspected cases, the youth welfare offices are obliged to assess the risk and the need for help as part of a risk assessment (according to Section 8a of Book VIII of the Social Code) and to counteract the risk.

Further information:

Further results from LEBEN IN EUROPA 2019 as well as methodological explanations and publications can be found in the topic area Living conditions and risk of poverty.

The Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat) publishes the results of all countries participating in EU-SILC in its Database.

Further results on child protection can be found on the Topic Page of child and youth welfare statistics, in the publication “Risk assessments“And the GENESIS-Online database under” Risk assessments ” (22518). Child protection is part of the United Nations’ sustainability strategy and is monitored in the 2030 Agenda, among other things Indicator 16.2 picked up.

Our is also about the consequences of the corona pandemic for educational justice Podcast with educational researcher Kai Maaz, Spokesman for the educational reporting group. The report provides further analyzes “Education in Germany 2020”.

Detailed information on educational expenditure can be found in “Education Financial Report”.

Further results on the coexistence of families in Germany can be found in the Series 1 Series 3 “Households and Families – Results of the 2019 Microcensus”.

Contact for more information


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

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