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Wealth Inequality on the Rise in Germany

DIW Weekly Report 10 / 2009, S. 62-73

Joachim R. Frick, Markus M. Grabka

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Individual net wealth in Germany totaled an average of around 88,000 Euros at the beginning of 2007 which was about 10 percent higher than in 2002. Decisive for this development was an increase in monetary wealth as well as wealth from private insurance. In connection with the overall quite unequal division of wealth, the median i.e., the value which separates the richest 50 per cent of the population from the poorest, continues to be only around 15,000 Euros. Nonetheless, around two thirds of the population of 17 years of age and above did not possess any or very little monetary and material wealth. So, on the whole, wealth inequality in Germany has continued to increase since 2002. Within the scope of this development, the wealth inequalities which already existed between West and East Germany have further increased since 2002, which has primarily been as a result of the decreasing market value of property in East Germany. Reforms of the state system providing for old age demand a reinforcement of private and company pension plans. Here, private asset accumulation through investment in owner-occupied properties and regular savings activity-also government sponsored-has particular significance in the maintenance of living standards after retirement.

Markus M. Grabka

Board of Directors SOEP & Acting Division Head Knowledge Transfer in the German Socio-Economic Panel study Department

JEL-Classification: D31;I31
Keywords: Wealth Inequality, Mobility, Composition, SOEP
Frei zugängliche Version: (econstor)