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Inequality

East-West German income disparities still in play

Incomes are lower in eastern Germany than in the west of the country. But prices are also lower in the east, so the standard of living for most citizens is comparable.

Income poverty is more widespread in East Germany than in West Germany, according to a new study presented Monday by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research.

But East Germans usually spend less than their western counterparts because prices there are lower on average, the private economic research institute said.

Taking these different factors into account, the poverty rate between the two regions is "not so far apart," according to the institute's economists.

Poverty in Germany

The study said income poverty is more of a problem in large cities than in rural areas.

In Germany individuals or households are considered poor if their income is less than 60 percent of median income.

Those at risk of poverty include singles who earn less than 980 euros per month in pre-tax income, according to the German Federal Statistical Office figures for 2012. Families with two children who make less than 2,058 euros per month are also at risk, it said.

But poverty lines may differ depending on the region, the Cologne study showed, as it compared living costs from a single person living in Munich with those of an average citizen in Germany.

According to the institute, almost half of German households include an unemployed person. These people have weak purchasing power, as do nearly a third of single parents, a quarter of singles, and many residents with migrant backgrounds.

el/nz (dpa, AFP, Cologne Institute for Economic Research)

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