“important today” – the podcast: children in the poverty spiral – one in five children is at risk of poverty

“important today” – the podcast
Children in the poverty spiral – one in five children is at risk of poverty

One in five children in Germany is affected by poverty – that’s 2.55 million children according to a study by the Bertelsmann Foundation. “A child is at risk of poverty if he grows up in a family that has less than 60 percent of the average income,” explains Cologne-based political scientist Christoph Butterwegge in the “Today Important” podcast. For singles who earn less than 1148 euros per month, with several adults or children, the lower limit is higher.

But especially with rising energy costs and inflation, the problem is spreading to the middle of society, Butterwegge sums up: “Even families who have managed to make ends meet. […] get into trouble when the price of gas rises so much that they used to be able to get by, but are now under pressure. Then the question arises: Should you freeze or should you starve?”

Science distinguishes between two different types of poverty: absolute and relative poverty. According to Butterwegge, people affected by absolute poverty can no longer meet their basic needs – for example, enough food, winter-proof clothing or a roof over their heads. The homeless are an example.

In Germany, however, relative poverty is more common, the social scientist explains: “A person who can satisfy their basic needs is relatively poor. But they cannot afford many of the things that are normal for almost all members of this society in a wealthy societies such as ours are.” If, for example, music lessons or the sports club are too expensive, a visit to the theatre, cinema or zoo is not even possible.

Adrienn Schmidt takes care of just such children. She runs the children’s aid organization “Die Arche” in Leipzig and makes sure that needy children get a hot lunch. Or just come out at home if necessary. She often finds that children do not perceive their own poverty in this way, or try to cover it up:

“Children don’t describe themselves as poor because they also have the status symbols on the outside. They all have a working mobile phone, a flat screen at home, they mostly wear branded clothes.” The external impression is important to many. Nevertheless, Adrienn Schmidt also notes that more people are now seeking help from her than a few months or years ago.

To ensure that this dramatic development does not continue to rise, Arche is calling for a reduced VAT on healthy food – and basic child safety, which federal family minister Lisa Paus is also committed to.

The basic child security must be there regardless of the family situation, explains Lisa Paus in an interview with RTL: “A guarantee amount for each child.” However, if the law is passed, this basic child benefit will not be paid until 2025 at the earliest. This will come too late for many families in the current situation.

Safe, meaningful, at 12: “important today” is not just a news podcast. We set topics and start debates – with attitude and sometimes unpleasantly. Host Michel Abdollahi and his team from “Stern” and RTL talk to exciting people from politics, society and entertainment. All voices have their say, the quiet ones and the loud ones. Anyone who hears “important today” starts the day well-informed and able to make a well-reasoned opinion.

“important today”

“vigtig i dag” is the morning podcast of “Stern” in collaboration with RTL and ntv. With a mix of society, politics, business and entertainment, the podcast is always available from Monday to Friday from Don’t miss an episode of “It’s Important Today” and subscribe to the podcast on Audio Now, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Deezer, Castbox or your favorite podcast app.

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