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Germany: Majority find income inequality 'too great'

Alexander Pearson
April 23, 2018

Only one other EU country ranks higher according to the percentage of people who think income differences have grown too far. A majority of respondents in Germany also think they live in a country of equal opportunities.

Stock photo - Income disparities
A figure holds up a sign inscribed with the phrase: "Higher wage"Image: picture-alliance/Eibner-Pressefoto

An overwhelming majority of people in Germany think that income inequality is "too great," according to an EU report published on Monday.

The Eurobarometer report, which polled people in all 28 EU countries, found that only Portugal had a higher proportion of respondents who thought income disparities had grown too much.

Read more: 'Massive' rich-poor gap in German society

What the report found:

  • Some 92 percent of respondents in Germany agreed that differences in incomes are too great.
  • Some 60 percent of people in Germany said they "strongly agreed" with the above statement.
  • Portugal ranked first for the percentage of people who agreed with the statement (96 percent).
  • The Netherlands came in last, with 59 percent in agreement.
  • The EU-wide average was 84 percent.

Read more: Is inequality good or bad for the economy?

Why this matters: The results have come amid concerns about the widening gap between rich and poor in many developed countries, including Germany and other European countries. Some economists have said the gap harms growth, while others have taken a more skeptical view.

Majority want to tackle inequality: The Eurobarometer report also found that 74 percent of respondents in Germany agreed that "the government … should take measures to reduce differences in income levels." People in Portugal agreed the most (94 percent), while people in Denmark agreed the least (51 percent). The EU-wide average was 81 percent.

Read more: Rich vs. poor: How fair and equal is Germany?

Equal opportunities for all: Despite their views on inequality, 70 percent of respondents in Germany also agreed with the statement: "I have equal opportunities for getting ahead in life, like everyone else." People in Denmark agreed the most (81 percent) with the statement, while people in Greece agreed the least (18 percent). The EU-wide average was 58 percent.

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