1 Out of 3 Kids in Germany Who Grow Up in Poverty Stay Poor As Adults: 20-Year Study
Sat, April 10, 2021

1 Out of 3 Kids in Germany Who Grow Up in Poverty Stay Poor As Adults: 20-Year Study

A 20-year study conducted by the Frankfurt Institute for Social Work and Pedagogy for charity Arbeiterwohlfahrt revealed that 1 out of 3 kids in Germany who grow up in poverty will remain poor as adults / Photo by: Ramstein Air Base

 

A 20-year study conducted by the Frankfurt Institute for Social Work and Pedagogy for charity Arbeiterwohlfahrt revealed that 1 out of 3 kids in Germany who grow up in poverty will remain poor as adults. But with resources and the right support structures, many of these kids can escape poverty.

While two in three children born from a low-income family in Germany can escape poverty in adulthood, only 50 percent of those kids can break the cycle of poverty after they leave their parent’s residence, the study emphasized as published by Germany-based news and current affairs platform DW.

The organization started its study in 1999, when they surveyed nearly 900 six-year-old kids attending daycares. Following up on the said study, the organization then surveyed over 200 of those kids again. They found out that one out of three of those kids remains poor.

Cycle of Poverty

The cycle of poverty starts when a kid is born into a poor family that has no or limited resources to advance themselves and create opportunities. As a result, they are stuck in the poverty trap. An international organization that empowers people to rise out of poverty World Vision says that, as a phenomenon, the cycle of poverty happens when poor families remain impoverished for at least three generations.

Kids are most affected by the said cycle because they are most dependent on their guardians as they grow up and they cannot, on their own, pull out of poverty because of lack of resources and their young age. Because they live in poverty, there is a high possibility that they experience illness due to poor sanitation and unsafe water, lack of access to education, inadequate healthcare, and malnutrition.

The cycle of poverty starts when a kid is born into a poor family that has no or limited resources to advance themselves and create opportunities. As a result, they are stuck in the poverty trap / Photo by: accu-it via Pixabay

 

Breaking the Cycle With Education

One of the biggest contributors to end poverty is to make sure that children have access to education. World Vision went on to say that even the most basic of education, such as arithmetic, writing, and reading, can open doors of opportunities that would otherwise be closed. This is also what the 20-year study on German kids has found. It says that education has played a “crucial role” in elevating the kids out of poverty. 

The German organization explained that child poverty does not automatically lead to poverty into adulthood. If resources and support structures within and outside the child’s family are found, they can break the cycle of poverty. 

The study also finds that it is rare for kids to experience poverty in adulthood if they were not exposed to economic hardship -- too few resources or too little money -- as a child.

Over the past decade, much attention has been given to the nation’s economic disparities. Various studies have shown that there has been an increase in poverty and homeless people in Germany, particularly the vulnerable communities like the elderly.

In a separate study unveiled in September, the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) said that more than one in five pensioners in Germany are threatened by poverty in two decades. From the current 16.8 percent, the number of pensioners exposed to the risk of poverty could increase to 21.6 percent by 2039.

Lead author Christof Schiller said that even with the positive developments in Germany’s labor market, people should still be ready for an increase in poverty among the elderly. Such an increase in the poverty rate could last in the next 20 years, the author added.

Schiller and the team’s study considered people at risk of falling into poverty if they are receiving less than 60 percent of the average income in the country. This was also equated to an income that is less than €905 ($997) per month.

One of the biggest contributors to end poverty is to make sure that children have access to education / Photo by: Max Pixel

 

Poverty and the Economy

Poverty rates are connected to the nation’s economy. This is because as the economy grows, so do opportunities for income growth and employment. A high-income level and stronger labor market can help poor families move above the poverty threshold, says Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis’ economist Rob Grunewald, who was not a part of the recent study.

People at Risk of Poverty or Social Exclusion

European Commission's EUROPA details the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion in a cumulative differences from 2009, in thousands: 2009 (-128), 2010 (-383), 2011 (-271), 2012 (-435), 2013 (-133 ), 2014 (163), 2015 (-262 ), 2016 (-310), 2017 (-828), and 018 (-1,092).

Meanwhile, the percent of population at risk of poverty in 2018 within EU countries are as follows: Germany (18.7 percent), Belgium (19.8 percent), Bulgaria (32.8 percent), Denmark (17.4 percent), Czechia (12.2 percent), Estonia (24.4 percent), Luxembourg (21.9 percent), Netherlands (16.7 percent), Poland (18.9 percent), Slovenia (16.2 percent), Finland (16.5 percent), Norway (16.2 percent), Switzerland (17.4 percent), Serbia (34.3 percent), and Romania (32.5 percent).

Aside from emphasizing education as the key to eradicating poverty, programs that focus on improving job opportunities for parents would also be ideal. That way, the family has a way of not staying in the lowest-income category and this also removes the biggest threat to kids’ healthy development.