Most Germans consider themselves middle class: study

Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-12 22:02:14|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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BERLIN, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- In a subjective classification of society, most Germans sorted themselves into the middle class or even the upper middle classes, according to a study published by the German Economic Institute (IW) on Monday.

"Only a few count themselves among the social upper class" in Germany, according to the authors of the IW study.

The IW authors calculated that the demand-weighted median income in Germany was 1,869 euros per month according to the most recent data from 2016.

Germans classed among the ten percent with the highest incomes were those whose net income was at least 3,440 euros (3,850 U.S. dollars) a month, according to the IW.

It found that couples without children and couples whose children had already moved out belonged to the group of the richest ten percent in Germany in 2016, with a net household income of 5,160 euros.

In contrast, single parents and their children had the least money among the German population, as 37 percent of single-parent households were "below the nationwide poverty threshold," the IW study authors noted.

With a net income of 1,309 euros a month, a single parent in Germany had less money than a single person without children and belonged to the "poorest quarter of the population," according to the study.

Academics in Germany had a particularly high chance of reaching the upper levels of income distribution, while people with no educational or vocational qualification had worse chances.

Where a person lived also affected at which end of the income distribution scale a person was. Rural residents in Germany had a needs-weighted median income 116 euros lower than that of an urban resident, according to the study.

It also made a difference which part of Germany a person lived in, as a single person earning a net income of 2,839 euros was "among the top ten percent in the east".

This net income, however, meant that the person "would only rank among the top 20 highest earners in western Germany" without taking into account differences in purchasing power, the study noted.

Furthermore, a person's living situation played an important role in determining their income distribution position in Germany.

"Those who live in their own homes often find themselves in the upper end of the income distribution," said IW study author Judith Niehues.

The demand-weighted median income of tenants in Germany was 1,493 euros, while that of homeowners was 2,252 euros, according to the study.

The German central Bundesbank had similar findings in a recent study which showed that there were "significant differences" in the distribution of wealth between eastern and western Germany.

Moreover, real estate ownership was "indicative" for high net wealth in Germany, according to the central bank.

Last year, the German government announced a support program for the nation's structurally weak regions in order to contribute to equal living conditions throughout the country.