Millions of people in Germany are still at risk of slipping into poverty. More than one in four people living alone or single parents is at risk. Families with several children often live on the poverty line.
The number of people at risk of poverty in Germany fell only minimally in 2021. As reported by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), around 13.0 million people were at risk of poverty. This corresponds to 15.8 percent of the population. In 2020 it was 16.1 percent with 13.2 million people. Broken down by household type, significantly more people from single-parent households and those living alone are at risk of poverty than the national average.
In 2021, more than a quarter of people from single-parent households (26.6 percent) were at risk of poverty. For those living alone it was 26.8 percent. For people in households with two adults and one child (9.0 percent) or with two children (11.4 percent) and in households with two adults without a child (11.5 percent), the at-risk-of-poverty rate in 2021 was below the national average.
In contrast, people in households of two adults with three or more children had a poverty risk rate of 23.6 percent, which was well above the national average.
Differentiated according to the predominant employment status of people aged 18 and over, last year almost every second person in the group of the unemployed was at risk of poverty, at 47.0 percent. In contrast, the proportion of those who were mainly employed was only 8.6 percent. For retired people, the at-risk-of-poverty rate was 19.3 percent.
According to the EU definition, a person is considered to be at risk of poverty if they have less than 60 percent of the median income of the total population. In 2021, this threshold was €15,009 net per year for a person living alone in Germany, and €31,520 net per year for two adults with two children under the age of 14.