• Note: This paper was initiated while Miles Corak was visiting researcher at the UNICEF-Innocenti Research Centre. The authors are grateful to Thomas K. Bauer, John P. Haisken-DeNew, Rainer Kambeck, Christoph M. Schmidt and two anonymous referees for helpful comments and to Leonhard Nima for research assistance. The data used in this paper were extracted from the GSOEP Database using the Add-On package PanelWhiz v1.0 (October 2006) for Stata(R). PanelWhiz was written by Dr. John P. Haisken-DeNew (john@panelwhiz.eu). The PanelWhiz generated DO file to retrieve the GSOEP data used here and any Panelwhiz Plugins are available upon request. Haisken-DeNew and Hahn (2006) describe PanelWhiz in detail. The results in this paper are entirely the responsibility of the authors, and in particular do not represent the official views of any of the institutions with which they are affiliated.

*Michael Fertig, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI Essen), Hohenzollernstr. 1-3, 45128 Essen, Germany (fertig@rwi-essen.de).


This paper offers a descriptive portrait of income poverty among children in Germany between the early 1980s and 2004, with a focus on developments since unification in 1991. Data from the German Socio-Economic Panel are used to estimate poverty rates, rates of entry to and exit from poverty, and the duration of time spent in and out of poverty. The analysis focuses upon comparisons between East and West Germany, by family structure, and citizenship status. Child poverty rates have drifted upward since 1991, and have been increasing more than the rates for the overall population since the mid-1990s. In part these changes are due to increasing poverty among children from households headed by non-citizens but also by children living in two-adult households. Children in single-parent households are by all measures at considerable risk of living in poverty. There are also differences in child poverty between East and West Germany.