Do you belong to the upper class? Find out!

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has kicked off a debate on the empire. He is a “very good earner”. In fact, an interactive calculator shows that the politician is much more than that. What about you? How is your income doing?

In Germany, wealth is being discussed again. The trigger this time: the finance minister himself. Because Olaf Scholz, who wants to become chancellor for the SPD, had said in the ARD “report from Berlin”: “I earn quite well, I would not feel rich.”

Numerous Internet users saw it differently. Scholz, who – without bonuses – earns more than 15,000 euros a month, can certainly be described as rich, it said in comments. Now the politician responded with a tweet: “To clarify my point of view: As Vice Chancellor I am one of the very good earners in our country – everyone can read how well.”

But from what net income are you rich – and when are you poor? The German Economic Institute (IW), which is close to the employer, has developed an interactive computer that takes into account the current income distribution in Germany.

A couple’s household without children, with more than 5,329 euros, is one of the top ten percent of society’s income – the part of the distribution that the IW defines as the upper class. Scholz and his wife Britta Ernst (SPD), who as Brandenburg’s education minister also earns another 14,000 euros, are among them.

And you? Find out! With this interactive calculator – you will find the corresponding explanation below.

How to use the calculator
In the first field, enter the monthly net household income – i.e. the total income that is available to your household minus income tax and social security contributions. Your partner’s wages – if you live together – or your child’s educational wages would also count towards your wages.
You must then state how many people aged 14 and over live in your household.
Now you get the so called needs-weighted net income displayed, which is calculated (see below). On the left and right, as well as under the graphic, you can then select which groups you would like to compare your income with. You will now see what percentage of the groups you have selected are poorer or richer. If you move your mouse over the graphs, you will also see how high the proportion of the group is in the total population or how high it is Median income the group is. The median income is the income that the group divides exactly in the middle: one half has a higher income, the other half a lower one.

For their analysis, the IW economists evaluated data from the household surveys of the socio-economic panel for 2017. The focus is on the so-called needs-weighted net income or Equivalised income: This is the income that each household member would have if they lived alone and grew up. Therefore, in a single household, the equivalised income is equal to the net household income.

This income takes into account, for example, the fact that larger households have a higher need for living space or food. On the other hand, they also save – for example with joint insurance. It also plays a role in the fact that children have less needs than adults.


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