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Wealth

Germany displays highest wealth inequality in eurozone

A study by a leading economic think tank has shown worsening financial inequality in Germany in recent years. In no other eurozone nation are there such big differences between the rich and many poor.

The survey by the Berlin-based German Institute for Economic Research showed on Wednesday that the gap between the rich and poor in Europe's biggest economy had been widening steadily in recent years.

Differences in financial assets that the affluent and the less well off had at their disposal were larger than in any other nation of the 18-member euro area, the study pointed out.

It said that while one percent of people making up the richest members of society owned an average 800,000 euros ($1.1 billion) per person, roughly a fifth of the German population had not amassed any private capital at all.

Discrepancies on many fronts

Global Risk Report: The threat of inequality

The authors of the survey compared data collected in 2007 with figures from 2012 and found the gap between the rich and the poor had widened further - not least due to a labor market reform which had made it even harder for jobless people to retain a bit of their wealth and be entitled to unemployment benefits at the same time.

The result has been that almost two-thirds of jobless people had no financial assets at all or were indebted.

All in all, the average German adult owned 29,000 euros, with the total volume of wealth assets amounting to 7.4 billion euros in 2012, the study showed. It also confirmed that Eastern Germans still had a lot less than their Western counterparts. Also, women owned considerably less than men, both in terms of money on their bank accounts and real estate property.

hg/msh,ipj (Reuters, AFP)

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