“Child poverty remains an unacceptable scandal”

The good situation on the labor market hardly improves the economic situation of many children in Germany, according to an analysis by the DGB.

A primary school pupil in Pirna in Saxony receives a free breakfast from the brotZeit eV association before the start of classes.

More than 1.5 million children in Germany depend on Hartz IV. The number fell slightly within three years from 1.56 million to 1.51 million last year, as a data analysis by the German Federation of Trade Unions shows. The data for 2016 to 2019 come from the Federal Employment Agency. In the years in between, 1.65 million (2017) and 1.58 million (2018) children up to 14 received the benefits.

“This means that households with children are largely decoupled from the relatively favorable development in the number of Hartz IV recipients,” states the DGB. The decline in children up to 14 years of age has been slightly more than 3 percent since 2016. The decrease for all people with a Hartz IV reference, on the other hand, amounts to 10 percent: last September this was 5.65 million, in 2016 it was 6.20 million.

The trade union federation concludes: The good economic situation and the favorable development on the labor market have not led to a noticeable reduction in the number of children in the Hartz IV relationship. Most of the children affected – around 840,000 – live in a household in which at least one parent is employed. These include almost 500,000 children with at least one parent who is subject to social security contributions.

DGB board member Annelie Buntenbach told the dpa: “Child poverty in a rich country like Germany is and remains an unacceptable scandal.” Despite work, low wages often make it impossible to cover one’s own livelihood and that of a child from one’s own means. Buntenbach called for an action program against child poverty, an increase in the minimum wage and a strengthening of collective bargaining coverage.

The standard rate for children under six is ​​250 euros per month, for 6 to 13 year olds 308 euros. The DGB explained that the Hartz IV rate provides for a 10-year-old child 4.09 euros per day for food and drink, 2.68 euros per month for books and 14.60 euros per month for savings on shoes. In order to allow children sufficient social participation, the performance is too low.