Germany′s Gap Between Rich and Poor Growing, OECD Says | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 21.10.2008
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Germany's Gap Between Rich and Poor Growing, OECD Says

Germany's gap between the rich and the poor is increasing at an alarming rate, according to a new report. That makes Germany's children and young adults more at risk to grow up in poverty, the report said.

A boy sits on a wall next to trash outside an apartment complex

The study noted that children are the most at risk for poverty

Three out of four countries have seen the gap between rich and poor increase during the past 20 years, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

This gap is leading to an alarming increase in child poverty, the OECD said in the report, which was released Tuesday, Oct. 21.

The rich have benefitted much more than the poor in the economic growth of recent decades, according to the report entitled "Growing Unequal: Income distribution and poverty in OECD countries."

The average income of the richest 10 percent of people was nearly nine times that of the poorest 10 percent, the study said.

Low social mobility, bad pay

A homeless man begs in Hamburg

Even wealthy German cities have poverty

Germany is one of the most affected, along with Canada, Norway and the United States. Greece, Mexico and Britain have seen their gap shrink, the study said.

Stagnant wages for low-income families and few opportunities for social mobility were causes for the increasing poverty levels. The study also concluded that children and young adults were 25 percent more likely to be poor than the population as a whole.

"Those around retirement age have seen the biggest increases in incomes over the past 20 years, and pensioner poverty had fallen in many countries," the study said. "In contrast, child poverty had increased."

The OECD said that this was alarming as there is evidence that "child wellbeing is a key determinant of how well someone will do as an adult -- how much they will earn, how healthy they will be, and so on."

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