Living Conditions in Germany
The world knows Germany, a Western European nation, for its rich history spanning back two millennia, famous cities, such as Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt and a festive culture that includes famous events, like Oktoberfest. However, the living conditions in Germany may surprise those who have not lived there.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Germany

  1. Most German cities have a strong sense of order, influenced by a strict and efficient bureaucracy. People keep cities clean due to sanitary rules. There are many regulations concerning everyday life, especially in small cities. For example, Swabia, a region of Germany, has laws for cleaning that go back to 1492. Swabia has the tradition of Kehrwoche, which translates to sweep week and involves residents taking up the responsibility of cleaning their homes and neighborhoods.
  2. PM2.5 describes a measurement of particulate matter in the air that can cause damage to the lungs. The PM2.5 in Germany is “14 mg per cubic meter” which is higher than the average. The particulate can come from “power generation, domestic heating and in vehicle engines.” Germany does not use significant amounts of renewable energy, so the use of coal is causing a high amount of PM2.5 to be present. Germany’s water quality, however, is great with “91% of people [saying] they satisfied” with their water quality.
  3. A sense of community tends to be strong for the average German citizen, and a survey by the OECD found that “90% of [Germans] believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need.” This strong support for others is an integral part of German culture.
  4. The average German household has a “relatively high average household disposable income per capita,” and the families are able to spend more on wants over needs. This is due to the fact that the average German worker has higher job security and earnings than in other countries.
  5. In general, children have high-quality living conditions. “However, 31.7% of German children live in homes with self-reported poor environmental conditions,” which means that these children are missing many things that their peers are able to enjoy, such as homes with outdoor “areas to play…winter clothing…seeing a film once a month.” Though children in upper-class families tend to have overall high-quality lives, people tend to bully their low socio-economic counterparts more frequently, who often have a lower quality of life at home.
  6. The life expectancy in Germany is approximately 81 years, which is close to the European average of 80 years. “Life expectancy for women is 84 years, compared with 79 for men.” This shows improvement over time since the life expectancy in 2002 was 81 years for women and 75 years for men. Easy access to good health care and high food and water security may contribute to this.
  7. For education, 86.3 percent of German adult workers have finished an upper secondary education. Adults have literacy and numeracy skills that are similar to other European nations. Also, “about 75% of people aged 15 to 64” have employment in Germany.
  8. The positive living conditions of the average citizen are drastically better than asylum seekers, who are living in horribly dirty conditions in refugee centers. They do not have access to clean bathrooms and reside in overcrowded bedrooms. Some fear that Germany is keeping the conditions unlivable in order to deter refugees from seeking asylum in the country.
  9. Rural towns in Germany are rife with unemployment, and a majority of citizens are moving to cities in search of jobs. The main types of jobs for a rural town, such as farming, are starting to lose value. According to the Federal Statistical Office, “more and more people are moving into the towns as new jobs in our knowledge society become available.”
  10. The population is aging, with more people dying than being born. The baby boomer generation, which includes 50 to 60-year-olds, are starting to retire, but there are not adequate numbers of youth to fill the growing vacancy in the average workplace. A study found that “Germany will need at least 260,000 immigrants a year…to meet increasing demand for labour.”

Germany has a culture that focuses on efficiency, cleanliness and high living conditions. The population is falling, but the life expectancy is rising, while many educated Germans are able to join the growing knowledge sector in many major cities. Though the situation in the refugee centers is grim, Germany is processing many refugees every day to join the millions of people who enjoy the living conditions in Germany.

– Anish Kelkar
Photo: Flickr