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Germany

German Standard of Living in Decline

Not only do more Germans think their standard of living is worsening, but it actually is, a bi-annual report compiled by three research German institutes revealed Monday. The "Data Report 2004" charted an increase in poverty in Germany from 12.5 percent in 2001 to 13.5 percent in 2002 as well as a growing gap in income levels. Issued by the German Federal Statistics Office, the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) and the Center for Survey Research and Methodology (ZUMA) in Mannheim, the report reflects the social situation and subjective well-being of the Germans. The study showed that people in the eastern parts of the country are less content than those in the west. "It is no longer the case that the Germans are faring better than most other Europeans," the authors of the report said. In many areas, including the material standard of living, Germany has slipped to the middle or even lower ranks in comparison to the other 14 earlier members of the European Union. Only the French, the Greeks, the Italians and the Portuguese are more unhappy with their lives.