Apparently, 3 million Germans are in poverty

Statistical poverty hits again.  And no surprises, Oxfam and the UN are quoted.  Wait until you see what income they define as the “breadline” in Germany.  You’ll be immigrating the same day.

Bonus:  You get to learn a new word.

Being employed in Germany is no longer enough to make ends meet, as around 3.1 million workers receive salaries below the country’s poverty threshold. People have been forced to cut back on food and heating in order to survive, German media reported.

You’re going to love what that threshold is.

The number of workers living in poverty surged 25 percent between 2008 and 2013 – Saarbrücker Zeitung newspaper citing Germany’s Federal Statistical Office data. In 2008, there were just 2.5 million workers living below the minimum income deemed adequate.

In 2013, the German poverty line was a salary of €979 (about USD$1,097) per person.

That’s an annual salary of NZD 76503.96.  

Surveyed workers said they have cut back on things like food and heating in order to make ends meet, including rent payments, data from 2013 household surveys showed.

Make ends meet.  On 76k.

During that year, over 530,000 low-income workers could only afford to eat one full meal every other day, and over 417,000 others were living without enough heat. Another 380,000 workers said they were behind on their rent payments.

Taking a vacation was also out of question for 1.5 million employees, while 600,000 others could not afford a car.

New Zealand is one of the most expensive countries to live, being in the top 10, and I can assure you that lots of people would love to be on the German poverty line at $75k of salary.

“The number of workers who earn scarcely or marginally more than the government unemployment benefits (Hartz IV) is alarmingly high,” the president of the social association VdK Ulrike Mascher told the Saarbrücker Zeitung.

Latest data from Oxfam, released in January, reveals that wealth disparity has been rising. The report estimated that the collective wealth of the world’s richest 1 percent will exceed that of the other 99 percent of the global population next year, “leaving ordinary people voiceless and their interests uncared for.”

Last July, the UN issued a report stating that more than 2.2 billion people worldwide are “either near or living in poverty.”

Get ready for your bonus phrase.

“Almost 1.5 billion people are multi-dimensionally poor, with overlapping deprivations in health, education and living standards. And close to 800 million people are vulnerable to falling back into poverty when setbacks occru,” the 2014 Human Development Report said.

Keep an ear out for multi-dimensionally poor from the usual suspects in Mana, Labour and the Greens.  In our case, poverty means they can’t have a smart phone for each family member, a Sky subscription and an annual holiday.  Oh, and the odd take-way.  Let’s not forget.

It’s one thing to define some kind of statistical poverty, but why are the media so complicit in beating this up as if it is real?  It’s some arbitrary number.  Tell people in India that Germans can’t get by on 4.3 million rupees per year, and they’ll think you’re from another planet.

Which rather amusingly describes the UN and their criminal attempts to define poverty in such a way as to make it effectively meaningless.   Except.   The media keep quoting as if it is chiseled on a set of stone tablets carried down from Mt Sinai.   There is nobody willing to criticise the word of the UN.


– RT


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  • David Moore

    The real, burning, question is how many Qataris are in poverty, it must be shocking that some of them do not have a gold plated Rolls Royce and a G5. Some of them have to make do with just a G3 private jet. Oh the humanity!

    • johcar

      Some can’t even afford to get new lycra suits for their racing camels!!!

      • David Moore

        It’s critical then that people in other counties like India who are not in poverty are taxed to the eyeballs to get these poor Qataris out of poverty.

    • Albert Lane

      The people who do all the work in those Arab countries are the ones in poverty. Many come from the Phillipines, and they are treated worse than slaves. It’s a wonder the UN haven’t done some visiting and sorted the problem out. If the Arabs didn’t have those low-paid imported workers, to do all their construction and menial tasks, they would disappear under the sands of their deserts.

      • David Moore

        Because they are only temporary on short term visas they don’t show up in the figures for any given country. They don’t count, in any respect.

  • Korau

    This nonsense about 1% holding 50% of the wealth has been seen before, and is the crux of this ‘report’.

    This is just rampant socialism. Has socialism or capitalism generated better results?

    • Cowgirl

      This figure 1% always confuses me because I heard that in the context of the world, just about everyone living in a Western democracy is in the top 1% of wealthiest people in the world. But all the people banging on about 1%ers don’t seem to include themselves in this figure – even though they are generally Westerners living in a Western democracy.

      • johcar

        “the people banging on about 1%ers” – guilty consciences (and enviousness of those in the same group that have more than they do).

        But you don’t see them selling all their possessions and giving everything to those worse off than themselves…

      • Don W

        And it is the top few percent of earners that pay a a large percentage of tax which funds the largess of socialism .

  • Davo42

    Good old UN (Useless Numpties), here is some actual data showing the difference between the cost of living in Auckland and our poor impoverished German brothers who reside in Berlin.

    The median annual Auckland household income is $76,500.

    Indices DifferenceConsumer Prices in Auckland are 32.79% higher than in Berlin
    Consumer Prices Including Rent in Auckland are 39.90% higher than in Berlin
    Rent Prices in Auckland are 58.48% higher than in Berlin
    Restaurant Prices in Auckland are 35.84% higher than in Berlin
    Groceries Prices in Auckland are 40.51% higher than in Berlin
    Local Purchasing Power in Auckland is 8.48% lower than in Berlin

    • johcar

      And this is what annoys me about anyone comparing income levels between countries: it’s meaningless unless the cost of living in the respective countries is taken into account.

      But, I guess, anything for a headline. The masses will hoover this kind of pap up and believe what they’re told.

  • Murray Smith

    I think the media are in fact multi-dimensionally red.

  • bobface

    I think the stated threshold is a monthly salary, not weekly:

    “In the year 2013, this threshold was a monthly take-home amount of 979 euros (about $1100) for an individual.”

    • Indeed. WO needs to correct this story as it isn’t accurate in terms of numbers. Statistical poverty though does need continued challenge.

    • stephen2d

      Yes, it is monthly figures. Similar ones are in France, too. But the amount of aid available is quite phenomenal and rents are far cheaper there than in NZ.

    • Euan Ross-Taylor

      Whatever the merits or otherwise of statistical poverty, I’d rather be a wage earner in NZ.

      “Germany’s newly introduced nationwide minimum wage of 8.50 euros ($10.50) came into effect on January 1, 2015.”

      In NZ dollars that is $12/hr which would be difficult to live on in Auckland.

    • InnerCityDweller
  • grannymorris

    EUR1k a month is about $18k a year.

  • ShortBackwardSquare

    Part of the problem is of course charities such as Oxfam deal in misery. There’s not much chance of an ad campaign saying ” Everything is A O.K…. but send in your hard earned just in case… you know… whatever…”

    • David Moore

      No, the problem is that these charities do not disappear when the problem they are created to solve disappears. Oxfam was created to deal with famines. They simply are much rarer now than in the past and rather than wind down as it should, Oxfam has decided to turn itself into a campaign group for something like marxist socialism. Ironic given that marxist socialism was the cause of so much famine, but perhaps they are trying to recreate it.

      The same thing with poverty. By using the new measure, poverty can never, ever be eradicated. That means people in these charities have a job for life.

      • ShortBackwardSquare

        I did say ‘part of the problem’.

        • David Moore

          Indeed you did, I was a bit blunt there.

          Nothing more upsetting to someone who farms misery than to see that misery evaporate….

          • Cadwallader

            In a sense your statement correlates well with the diminishing number of church-goers ( in this country at least.)

  • Peter

    Sorry WO, but you’re maths is a bit out. I think that’s a monthly amount they’re quoting, so the annual figure in $NZ is around 18K.

  • Bayman

    Question: where on earth do these people come up with the ‘poverty threshold’ figure?all we get form the left these days is poverty this, poverty that.

    I am yet to actually here what this so called poverty actually is.

    • Albert Lane

      It seems to me that a percentage of people earning the least money in any country are deemed to be living in poverty. If you fix that percentage at 10%, then 10% of people will be impoverished, no matter how much money they earn. However, in a welfare state like ours, it’s what you do with that income that makes all the difference. If you don’t earn a lot of money, but you smoke or drink or gamble, or take drugs, or party all night, you will shout poverty, and your kids will have to be fed at school, and you’ll need state housing, food parcels and grants to help you survive, and the Labour Party and the Greens will fawn over you, swearing that they will give you more in handouts. It’s what you do with your money that counts. I hope that by now our schools will have started teaching kids how to budget, and to teach them what happens when you splurge your income on your lifestyle.

  • Bobb

    It’s obvious that the word “poverty” has been hijacked by the constantly bewildered do-gooders and no longer means what normal people think it does. A bit like “gay” I suppose.

  • timemagazine

    Is anybody in their right minds taking these two institutions seriously?

  • NotGandalf

    Poverty (n) – defined in the New Age Troughers Dictionary as being ‘not a millionaire’…..

    • hookerphil

      Good, I’m poverty stricken then.

  • Bean

    No one seems to consider the “undeclared” cash or bartered income of those living in “poverty”, its a gross generalisation but I bet plenty of gypsys and the likes make a LOT off begging, whoring, stealing and dealing only to blow it, smoke it, drink it or inject it.

  • oldmanNZ

    German has a new minimum wage of €8.7, around $nzd13,

    German also had adopted a lot of green policies and economy from last green government…. Unemployment as rised,

    This is what happens when green get in power.

    Spend heaps on welfare and green energy that do not deliver.

  • tinfoilhatguy

    I get to see shameful, grinding poverty in this country every day. At the Wellington railway station it’s sitting on the steps playing with
    a smartphone, smoking, and holding a sign that says ‘No food, no
    money, please help’. Shame on you New Zealand, you’ve let your people down.

  • Young and Dumb

    I’m not entirely sure but if I recall the income tax rate in Germany for those who earn around 50,000 EUR is 42%. So based on that of course social welfare pay outs are going to be high in comparison to the normal wage.

    Over here you can get paid out more on the benefit rather than working part time, does that mean that its not worth it? This all comes down to the entitlement of citizens and people thinking they are above what they are.

    Not that I was around when social welfare payments were introduced but I gather the idea wasn’t to provide a free income for people. Maybe lowering social welfare pay outs (both here and in Germany) would make working more appealing? Or at least make freeloading less appealing?

  • Don O’Brien

    Cameron has made a
    mistake with the Poverty Line figures.

    €979 (about $1,097) per person is a monthly salary.

    If it was weekly then yes the equivalent NZ figure
    would be around $75,000.

    According to

    the average German monthly salary is 4,069 Euro, but
    if you worked in a Beauty salon, you would get approximately 1,070 Euro, which
    would put you 91 Euro a month above the poverty line.

  • Rick H

    Mr. Accountant, Sir – nowhere did he state “annual” on his sentence mentioning 979 Euros.
    In fact, here is his text –
    “In 2013, the German poverty line was a salary of €979 (about USD$1,097) per person.
    That’s an annual salary of NZD 76503.96.”

    Where in Africa does one get 76503.96 NZD or the equivlence thereof?

    • The Accountant

      Salary is implied as annual. We advertise for staff and graduates without stating “annual”. The lack of anything to the contrary led to my question around the 979, which you have to admit at less than 3 a day would make it lower than some African countries, as stated. I never mentioned the 76k number. When I later read the article I realised that month had been omitted from the WOBH post. I didn’t bother to update my comment as the blog post was not updated either.