More and more people in germany live alone – and significantly more single people than before are at risk of poverty. Single people and single parents are also particularly often over-indebted.
At the same time, loneliness as a social problem is increasingly coming into focus: because, according to studies, lonely people have a higher risk of becoming ill and dying earlier.
Almost one in three single people in germany is at risk of poverty. According to the latest figures from the european statistical office eurostat, this was 32.9 percent of single people in 2016. Ten years earlier, only 21.5 percent of all single people were at risk of poverty. Since 2011, the proportion of those at risk of poverty has been over 30 percent. The risk-of-poverty threshold in germany in 2016 was 1063.75 euros per month, equivalent to 60 percent of the median income. The left drew attention to the latest eurostat figures in the bundestag.
The number of single people increased significantly to 16.43 million single adults without children in 2016 – more than two out of every five households are now single households. It wasn’t until 2015 that their numbers crossed the 16 million threshold; in 1991, they were only around 11 million. The number of single parents has also risen by more than 300,000 to over 1.6 million in the last 20 years.
The president of diakonie deutschland, ulrich lilie, told the deutsche presse-agentur in berlin that those affected had often not chosen to be single themselves. "This obligates the community to help these people structurally."How far does the responsibility of politics extend??
In great britain, a government post against loneliness was even set up recently – which was registered internationally attentively. It is well known that the role of the extended family is diminishing and that more and more people are living as singles. More and more people are becoming aware that loneliness can make people ill.
The investigation report of a loneliness commission that preceded the government’s post in great britain came to the clear conclusion: loneliness is just as damaging to health as 15 cigarettes a day. For germany, SPD health expert karl lauterbach had already suggested in the "bild" newspaper that a coordinator be established in the ministry of health to fight loneliness.
Among those living alone without children, it is predominantly the manners who get into financial difficulties. This is also shown by the 2017 over-indebtedness report of the hamburg institute for financial services. According to the report, 36.2 percent of the over-indebted are single men, 24 percent are single women, 23.9 percent are couples and 15.2 percent are single parents. Single parents are more than two and a half times as likely to be in debt as the population as a whole.
Study author dirk ulbricht attributes the fact that single parents are particularly at risk to poorer conditions for them on the job market, for example. In the case of people living alone, the decisive factor is that they are not able to compensate for financial fluctuations as well as couples. The situation is especially risky for single self-employed people without a fixed monthly salary, as ulbricht told dpa.
Diakonie president lilie speaks of a downward spiral for many single parents. "Many have to work around the clock and take care of the children," said lilie. "Social life then hardly takes place."Social hardship is so often accompanied by loneliness. Almost nine out of ten single parents are women.
Lilie buried the fact that the union and SPD had committed themselves to the goal of equal living standards throughout germany in the draft of their coalition agreement. "This is a step in the right direction."In many cities with tight budgets, daycare centers are not free of charge, while wealthy municipalities offer non-contributory daycare centers. Politicians are called upon to create non-contributory daycare centers and to expand all-day care for schoolchildren.
The financial problems of these groups often go hand in hand with low wages. According to eurostat, 17 percent of single people in employment were at risk of poverty – despite having a job. This is where left-wing member of parliament sabine zimmermann comes in. Germany has a pronounced low-wage sector, she told dpa. "A new federal government must focus on this issue."She called for a higher minimum wage and an end to temporary employment and short-term contracts without a fixed term.
EU-wide, only 32.5 percent of private households are single households. The proportion of people at risk of poverty is also below the german figure for the EU as a whole, namely 25.6 percent.