IN FOCUS / 2015-06-29
After 25 years: uniform consumption pattern in eastern and western Germany
On 1 July 1990 the Treaty between the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic establishing a Monetary, Economic and Social Union entered into force. As the Deutsche Mark was introduced in the GDR and a common economic area established, western products initially were in high demand there. 25 years after the Treaty came into force, consumption habits in the eastern and western parts of Germany differ only slightly.
Private consumption expenditure in the former territory of the Republic of Germany amounted to approximately 2,400 euros in 2012 and to roughly 1,900 euros in den new Länder and Berlin. Although amounts differed between eastern and western Germany, consumption patterns were similar: households spent most of their money on housing (east: 34.2%; west: 34.5%), mobility (east: 13.9%; west: 14.3%) and food (east: 14.4%; west: 13.8%).
As regards the equipment of households in the eastern and western parts of Germany, for some goods there are no differences anymore: for instance, almost all households in Germany had a telephone in 2013 (east: 99.8%; west: 99.8%). 20 years earlier, only every other household in eastern Germany was equipped with a telephone (east: 48.8%; west: 97.4%). There still were larger differences in 2013 regarding the equipment with household appliances such as dryers (east: 22.2%; west: 43.8%), freezers (east: 40.9%; west: 53.1%) or dishwashers (east: 59.4%; west: 69.5%).
IN FOCUS / 2015-06-23
UNHCR: 60 million people forcibly displaced
At the end of 2014, 59.5 million people all over the world were forcibly displaced, including 38.2 million internally displaced people, 19.5 million refugees and 1.8 million asylum seekers. According to the UNHCR annual report Global Trends 2014, this was the highest number ever recorded. Compared with a year earlier, the number of such people (internally displaced people, refugees, asylum seekers) was up 16%.
Looking only at the number of refugees, the increase was even larger (17%). One of the main reasons is the war in Syria. Many refugees seek shelter in neighbouring countries such as Turkey. In 2014, Turkey was the country with most refugees worldwide (1.6 million), followed by Pakistan (1.5 million) and Lebanon (1.2 million).
According to the UNHCR, roughly 217,000 refugees found shelter in Germany, 15% more than a year earlier. The number of asylum applications rose markedly, too. In 2013, roughly 110,000 first-time applications were filed, while in 2014 new applications totalled 173,000 (+57%). Russia was the only country in the world recording even more asylum applications (275,000) - the main reason probably being the Ukraine conflict.