Rising child poverty hangs over Germany’s future

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‘Germany could soon become a geriatric society with a crumbling economy that depends on a dwindling supply of increasingly sickly and poorly educated workers unless things change fast’, says Reuters reporting on a recent German study into child welfare. Despite uneployment falling as the economy posts its strongest sustained growth in years, chld poverty is rising. The study, Kinderreport Deutschland 2007, found that the proportion of children living off the lowst level of welfare support was nearly 16 times higher today than it was in 1965. Over the same period, the number of births has nearly halved.

Judge Borchert said Germany’s social security system and taxes on consumption lay at the root of the problem.

Due to fixed levies on wages that fund state benefits, low income families with children, who spend the biggest share of their wealth covering everyday needs, are hit hardest, he said.

Yet studies show poorer families tend to have most children and are likelier to have health or educational problems.

“In 2030 we’ll have 1.2 million people retiring and only 460,000 children per year around to deal with them,” said Borchert. “And we know many of the best simply leave Germany anyway. Last year we lost 150,000 with an average age of 32.”

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