Education is just a means of income

3,440 euros net per month : With this income you are part of the upper class

With a net income of 3,440 euros per month, singles are among the ten percent with the highest income in Germany. This was determined by the Institut der Deutschen Wirtschaft (IW) in a study published on Monday. For couples without children or whose children have already moved out, the top 10 limit is 5,160 euros net.

When it comes to the perceived classification in the income distribution, according to previous surveys, most people sort themselves into the middle or upper middle class. Virtually no one feels they belong to the 20 percent of society with the highest income. However, it is precisely the very high incomes that are not recorded often enough. For this reason, no further distinction is made in such studies within the top 10 percent between the many high earners and very few really rich. "The limit to the top percent tends to be underestimated, however, since very high incomes are under-recorded," says the study.

For their analysis, the IW experts evaluated data from the household surveys of the socio-economic panel for 2016. The focus is on the so-called need-weighted mean income: Among other things, it takes into account that larger households have a higher need for living space or food, but lower per capita costs are incurred in other areas, for example with joint insurance. It is also taken into account that younger children have less needs than adults.

In 2016, the needs-weighted mean net income in Germany was 1,869 euros per month - half of the population had more net money, the other half less. According to the study, the group of single parents, with a median income of 1,309 euros, is one of the lowest income quarters of the population.

A university degree opens up high chances of reaching the upper income brackets. It is the other way around for people without an educational or professional qualification. Academics living alone must have an income of 2,541 euros so that they end up exactly in the middle of the group of university graduates. Incidentally, almost three quarters of the German population in the total population were below this income in 2016.

Higher income in the city

There are also differences between urban and rural areas. The median income in urban regions is 116 euros above that in rural areas. However, regional price differences are not yet taken into account. This also applies to the east-west comparison. While people with an income of over 2,839 euros in eastern Germany belong to the top ten percent, in western Germany they are only below the top 20 percent.

Property is also noticeable. While the average income of tenants is 1493 euros, this is 2252 euros for owners - a difference of 759 euros per month. Those who live in owner-occupied property have a high probability of placing themselves in the upper income bracket. (AFP / Tsp)

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