Poverty among senior citizens is worse in western Germany | News | DW | 23.09.2019
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Poverty among senior citizens is worse in western Germany

The states of the former East Germany have fewer senior citizens dependent on state support than in western Germany. Differing roles of women in the workforce could explain the discrepancy.

By the end of 2018, 4.15% of people over the age of 65 had to seek state support to get by in the states that made up the former West Germany.

For the six eastern states, including Berlin, the rate was only 2.15%, with the nationwide share of seniors who required state help at 3%.

The Düsseldorf-based Rheinische Post newspaper reported the figures from the German statistics bureau on Monday.

Read more: 2019 brings Germans greater fear of old-age poverty

The inclusion of Berlin — which before reunification in 1989 was split between East and West Germany — in calculations for western Germany makes for an even starker contrast. The German capital has a very high rate of seniors on state support at 6.5%. Including this figure raises the rate for western Germany to 4.36%.

Read more: Can a wealth tax bridge Germany's divide between rich and poor?

One explanation for the lower figures out of the eastern states is that women there have traditionally been more active in the labor market. Even nearly 30 years after reunification, women in eastern Germany tend to work more often and longer than women in western Germany. This is reflected in higher pensions.

Watch video 03:43

Living on the breadline

kp/rc (AFP, epd, KNA)

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