According to the findings of the latest GfK purchasing power survey for Germany, disposable income will fall by 42 per capita in 2010. The effects of the economic crisis will reach private consumers. However, this nominal decrease in purchasing power is likely to be kept in check by low inflation. The survey conducted by GfK GeoMarketing also shows that there are major differences in the level of purchasing power between the various regions in Germany.
Germans will have purchasing power totaling around 1,550.2 billion in 2010. Purchasing power measures the net disposable income of the population including national benefits such as unemployment benefit, child benefit and pensions.
In 2010, the purchasing power in Germany will decrease by 7.5 billion or 0.5% compared with 2009 due to decreasing incomes as well as a decline of 216,000 inhabitants. This corresponds to a decrease of 42 per inhabitant in 2010. On average, Germans will have 18,904 per capita per year to spend on the costs of living and consumption.
In view of a probable stagnation in wage development and growing unemployment, Germans will have to economize more. However, low inflation is likely to keep
further losses in check.
The purchasing power of individuals depends particularly on whether they have secure employment or, for example, are experiencing large income reductions as a result of redundancy. The development of the labor market will have the greatest influence on the propensity of households to consume and on recovery from the economic crisis.
The eternal top 3: Hochtaunus district, Starnberg, Munich
As in 2009, the three areas of Germany with the highest level of purchasing power in 2010 will be the Hochtaunus district, the Starnberg rural district and the Munich rural district, with 27,426, 27,095 and 26,057 per capita respectively.
Among the 25 districts with the highest purchasing power, the Freising rural district (Bavaria) climbed 3 places from No. 17 to 14, with 22,581 per capita. The Erlangen-Höchstadt rural district also moved up three places, and is now ranked No. 22. The Harburg rural district (Lower Saxony) fell by the most places, sliding from 13 to 18. A new entry in the top 25 is the Erding rural district (Bavaria), which was still ranked at No. 28 last year and is now 23. The Mettmann rural district (North Rhine Westphalia) is no longer represented in the top 25, having fallen four places. Otherwise, changes in the top 25 involved maximum movement of two places.
East-West divide still clearly in evidence
The most prosperous district in Eastern Germany, which lies in Brandenburg and is called Potsdam-Mittelmark, is ranked No. 190, with net disposable income of 18,594 per inhabitant. The second-ranked East German district the Potsdam urban district in Brandenburg, also bordering Berlin comes 45 places later at No. 235, followed by the Oberhavel urban district (Brandenburg) at 247.
The 25 districts with the lowest level of purchasing power are in all Eastern Germany, with the sole exception of the West German Bremerhaven urban district, at No. 401, whose inhabitants have disposable income of 15,053. As in the previous year, the Uecker-Randow rural district came bottom out of all 413 urban and rural districts, despite positive development of the index (+1.0 to 73.5). Inhabitants of this district have 163 more purchasing power on average than in 2009; however, they only have a total of 13,893 in total, which corresponds to around half of the purchasing power in the richest district.
Growth bucking the crisis trend: the East catches up
A different picture emerges when comparing growth in purchasing power in the different federal states: Here, Eastern Germany clearly outperforms the West. Among the 25 districts with the greatest positive changes compared with the previous year, there are 23 East German and just two West German districts. These are the Neustadt an der Waldnaab rural district (Bavaria) and the St. Wendel rural district (Saarland), which rose 23 places in the rankings and w