Wealth in Germany remains unevenly distributed

People in Germany have accumulated more wealth in recent years. However, in international comparison it is still very unevenly distributed, so that not everyone benefits equally from the growing wealth. Real estate make the difference.

The Germans are fundamentally well off, but the wealth is still unevenly distributed. According to a study by the German Institute for, the richest 10 percent own more than half of the total wealth (56 percent) Economic research (DIW) emerges. The poorer half, on the other hand, only has a share of 1.3 percent. Real estate ownership also plays a role here.

“The wealth inequality is in Germany – also in international comparison – very high, but it has remained at this level in the past ten years, “said study author Markus Grabka.

Who has the most wealth in Germany

Thanks lower unemployment and increased wages have put many people on the high edge in recent years. According to the study, net wealth per capita rose by an average of 22 percent from 2012 to 2017 to just under EUR 103,000.

The median value, which separates the richest 50 percent from the lower half, is only EUR 26,000, which is significantly below the average. This indicates a strong unequal distribution of wealth. “People who were born between 1940 and 1950 live in West Germany and one Real estate own a lot of assets on average, “says co-study author Christoph Halbmeier, summarizing the result.

In 2017, the population of 17 years and older in West Germany had an average net worth of EUR 121,500, in the East only EUR 55,000. One reason for the difference: more people live in the new federal states than in the west.

Real estate boom increases wealth

People who live in their own four walls have benefited from the real estate boom in recent years – their assets grew particularly strongly. According to this, owners of a property they used owned an average of around € 225,000, tenants only got € 24,000. Also business assets – that is possession of a company or a stake in it – has grown significantly since 2012. According to the information, however, it is primarily in the hands of the wealthy.

A study by the Bundesbank had recently come to the conclusion that the net assets of property owners in particular were affected by the increased Property prices have increased. However, only 44 percent of private households in Germany therefore own residential property. The real estate boom thus misses many people. In other euro countries, for example in Italy or Spain, the quota of property owners is significantly higher at around 70 or around 80 percent.

So how can the scissors be closed?

“A Property tax, As was recently demanded, additional fiscal revenue will be created, but it will not automatically benefit the wealthy population groups, “argues study author Grabka.

Instead, better opportunities for wealth creation should be offered to the population with lower and middle incomes in particular. Private property ownership should be promoted more efficiently. Private pensions should be based more on models such as those in Sweden. This achieved a far higher return than the Riester and Rürup pensions funded in Germany.

The study is based on the results of a survey of around 30,000 people in around 15,000 households. The assets of persons aged 17 and over are asked. These include, among other things, owner-occupied and other real estate holdings, savings, shares and investment shares, claims from life and private pension insurance, business assets and valuable collections, such as gold, jewelry, coins or works of art.


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