Children and young people in Hartz IV: Every sixth child in Leipzig still lives in an emergency community – news from Leipzig

In one way or another, unemployment rates and poverty rates are linked. But not directly. Unemployment does not affect everyone equally. Well-educated and highly skilled people are much less likely to become unemployed than people in poorly paid jobs. And the statistics reveal one more thing: Families with children are more dependent on state aid than the average working population.

Which has reasons. And one of the key reasons is the common thinking in Germany about how the work should be organized – namely as flexible, mobile and always ready as possible. The work does not end with the official closing time.

And entire industries even expect their employees to work overtime and be on guard. Which is also one reason why women are not to be found in many of these often better paid jobs. Because such a world of work is ultimately incompatible with childcare.

The statistics that Paul M. Schröder of the Bremen Institute for Labor Market Research and Youth Employment Assistance (BIAJ) regularly compiles on children and adolescents in Hartz IV make this clear.

Of course, these young people appear in the job center statistics when their parents are either unemployed or earning so little that they cannot manage without a subsidy from the job center.

Slight improvement in Saxony

It is noteworthy that Saxony and Leipzig have not been in the top group for years. Other federal states and cities have overtaken them in SGB II quotas for children and youth in recent years. But also in Saxony and Leipzig, the SGB II rates for children and young people are well above the official unemployment rates.

Comparison of SGB II rates among major German cities.  Graphics: BIAJ
Comparison of SGB II rates among major German cities. Graphics: BIAJ

The calculation basis is different. The unemployment rate refers to all suitable for employment, the SGB II rates for children and young people refer to all children and young people in the respective coverage area.

But at least very similar numbers should come out of it. But they do not.

For example, an unemployment rate of 6.0 percent in Leipzig is still 16.6 percent for children and young people in emergencies.

It is similar in Saxony: with an official unemployment rate of 5.5 percent, Schröder calculates an SGB II rate for children and young people of 10.5 percent.

Which already suggests that the problem is bigger in big cities than in rural areas.

A metropolitan problem?

And the marked decline in unemployment in Saxony since 2010 has long since led to more parents and single parents finding work. This has also significantly reduced the SGB II quota for children and young people – from over 25 percent in Leipzig to 16.6 percent by the end of 2021.

With these 16.6 percent, Leipzig is now in a better position than many major West German cities. While Leipzig was once at the top of this ranking along with Berlin, the city now ranks only 11th among the major German cities, and now even has Frankfurt (17.6 percent), Düsseldorf (17.8 percent) and Hamburg (18, 9 percent). left behind.

Essen, with 30.6 percent, and Duisburg, with 30.3 percent, have long been at the top of this big city ranking. Which also tells about how badly there is a lack of well-paid jobs for parents in these cities in particular, and how whole families are slipping into poverty because there are no equal opportunities for them.

Of the 400 registered districts and cities, Leipzig comes in only 68th place, so like almost all cities, it ends up very far down in this field. Which also tells us that today’s social problems are increasingly concentrated in the big cities, which on the one hand have hope for a (well-paid) job and on the other hand do not take into account the needs of families.

Young families are moving away from rural areas, which means that the number of unemployed with children is falling there, and thus also the number of children in needy communities.

When poverty is inherited

In return, they let these numbers rise in the big cities. So Leipzig with the – clearly negative – rank 68 apparently captures the problems that the Erzgebirge district (6.1 percent, rank 304) no longer has. Or do not seem to have more.

For he now lacks the children, young people and trainees that Leipzig can have without being able to stop the discrimination of the family in the labor market.

So it is not the problems of the big cities, but the whole country, the whole Federal Republic, that still do not want to see the silent discrimination of families. For as a rule, being dependent on SGB II also means that the chances of the affected children are radically worsened even in school, and that they themselves grow into a life in poor conditions.

Because these families obviously have no buffer to give the children special support in school or even during their studies. This is how poverty is inherited.

And only to a limited extent does the growing shortage of skilled workers in the labor market mean that more families with children can say goodbye to the job center’s care.

It is z. B. in the all-German figures, which Schröder interprets as follows: “According to the population update from the Federal Statistics Office, at the end of the year 13.863 million children and young people under the age of 18 lived in the Federal Republic of Germany by 2021 (end of 2020: 13.744 million). According to statistics from the Federal Employment Agency, in December 2021, a total of 1.759 million (unmarried) children and young people lived in families dependent on SGB II services to secure their livelihood (Hartz IV), officially: ‘in SGB II need communities”. (December 2020: 1.849 million). “

So there are more children and young people – but their number in emergency communities is falling a bit. Not enough to really solve the problem.

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