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Income, consumption, living conditions

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Therefore, the information offered here is not updated regularly. See our GENESIS-Online database for current data.

Theme in brief

In­come, re­ceipts, expen­diture

Households receive their monthly income and receipts from very different sources. The main sources are employment, assets as well as public and non-public transfer payments.
From their receipts, households have to meet many different kinds of expenditure. This includes not only consumption expenditure but also taxes and social security contributions, expenditure on insurance and capital formation as well as loan repayments.

Consumption expenditure

A large part of monthly household expenditure is expenses for purchases of goods and services, referred to as private consumption expenditure.
It covers not only expenditure on the basic needs of food, housing and clothing but also expenses for health, leisure, education, communication, transport as well as accommodation and food services.

Assets, debt

The economic situation of households is determined not only by regular income but also by assets. Among assets, a distinction is made between financial assets and real property. Financial assets are subdivided into various asset types in which the households have invested their money, such as the balance on a savings account with a building and loan association, savings, securities and life assurances. Gross assets are the total of all positive stocks of assets. When examined in net terms, the residual debt from loans is deducted from the total of gross assets. As regards loans, consumer credits, education loans and overdraft facilities are covered.

You will find here data not only on assets and debt of households but also on the overindebtedness of individuals and on consumer insolvencies.

Equipment with consumer durables

Households have many different consumer durables. They range from vehicles and consumer electronics, information and communication technology to household appliances and sports equipment. The results are shown as the equipment rate – the proportion of households having such goods – and the equipment stock.
Technological progress has an influence on the selection of goods covered. "Traditional" goods such as passenger cars, TV sets, telephones and washing machines have been covered for many years. Information on a few other goods, such as MP3 players and navigation devices, has additionally been collected from households in the last few years. Some goods, for example, telephones, PCs and cameras, are covered in a more detailed way by fixed and mobile or analogue and digital equipment.

Use of information technologies

The use of modern information technologies (IT) in households has rapidly grown in the last few years and today households can hardly be imagined without them. Apart from the equipment of households with computers and internet as well as the type of connection for internet access, the focus is on a detailed examination of internet use. This covers how often and where people use the internet and a more detailed description of uses (such as using social networks, internet banking, online shopping or contacting authorities). The recent development of mobile internet use is observed, too. What is also important is obstacles and people’s worries hindering or preventing IT use.

Living conditions, risk of poverty

What do people think of their personal life situation? Do households have sufficient financial resources, for instance, to afford a one-week holiday trip once a year? Can people have a meal with meat, poultry meat or fish once in two days and can they properly heat their dwelling? What can a household afford with its monthly income? Are there defects in the dwelling or problems in the residential surroundings? The answers to those questions provide information on living conditions, risk of poverty and possible social exclusion of the people.
The material life situation is determined by the level of income received. People are at risk of poverty if they have to live on a markedly lower income than the average population, that is, with less than 60% of the median income of the total population (at-risk-of-poverty threshold).


What is the housing of households like? Do the majority own or rent their dwelling? How many rooms and how many square metres of useful floor space are available to the households or the persons living there? The picture of the housing situation of households is completed by information on the age and type of residential buildings, the heating systems and the type of heating energy most often used by households as well as the availability of second and holiday homes, garages and parking spaces.
The information on real property is broken down by ownership of undeveloped land, of one-family and two-family houses as well as of residential buildings with three or more dwellings.

Time use

A day has 24 hours for everyone – man or woman, young or old. The different ways people spend their time is shown by the results of the time use survey. There are many different time use structures: employment, household, family and leisure time. Particular attention is paid to the volume of unpaid work such as housework and child care, voluntary work or neighbourly help. Data on education and leisure activities, for example, the use of media, are also collected.
The time use surveys of the Federal Statistical Office are among the most comprehensive studies on time use in Germany.


Income, receipts,



Private consumption expenditure of households (cost of living)

Structure of the consumption expenditure by territory

Expenditure of households on food, beverages and tobacco

Equipment with
consumer durables


Equipment of households with information and communication technology

Equipment of households with vehicles

Equipment of households with entertainment electronics

Equipment of households with electrical household appliances and others

Equipment of households with PC and internet access

Additional Information


Piktogramm Presse

For current press releases on the theme of income, consumption, living conditions, housing please go to our press pages.

© Statistisches Bundesamt (Destatis), 2019

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