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Survey: worries about the climate, corona, care


In the autumn of the second year of the pandemic, optimism returned to the middle generation - at least a little. She is also doing well economically. And yet the worries are great.

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Zeil shopping street in Frankfurt am Main: Financially, the middle generation is doing well


Boris Roessler / dpa

So far, the corona pandemic has survived well in purely economic terms, even a little more optimistic - but more stressed and with many great worries: According to a recent survey, this is how the mood in the so-called middle generation can be summarized - specifically among the 30 to 59-year-olds in Germany. It is the age group in the so-called rush hour of life: the vast majority of the working population belong to this age group; most parents with dependent children are also at this age - but also many children who in turn look after their parents. It is the span of life in which it is not uncommon for the generation before and afterwards to be cared for and supported and at the same time to be provided for for one's own age.

This middle generation is surveyed by the Allensbach opinion research institute on behalf of the GDV insurance association every year; this time there were 1,055 representatively selected women and men between the end of October and the middle of November.

The results were available to SPIEGEL in advance.

A year ago - in the first year of the pandemic - confidence had waned across the board, but this year it has at least partially returned.

37 percent of those surveyed see the future with hope, still less than before Corona, but considerably more than at the end of 2020. 28 percent were skeptical, and 26 percent even fear the future.

However, it is unclear to what extent the massive fourth corona wave still had an impact on the respondents' answers. This is due to the period of the survey, in which the number of infections rose massively: At the beginning they were around 20,000 a day, at the end they were around 50,000.

One reason for the more optimistic view of the future compared to 2020 could be that the corona pandemic did not have a negative impact on most members of the middle generation, at least financially. On the contrary: 42 percent stated that their economic situation was better than it was five years ago. It has only deteriorated for 21 percent. When asked about their absolute financial situation, 52 percent said it was good or even very good, only eleven percent said it was bad. The fear of losing one's job has also decreased, with 23 percent saying it last year, now 16 percent.

These results confirm the findings of the SPIEGEL Economic Monitor, according to which the proportion of those with growing prosperity is greater than those with falling and the fear of unemployment is at a similarly low level as before the pandemic.

However, Corona has by no means passed the middle generation without a trace.

The stress has increased significantly.

39 percent of respondents said that they often feel stressed, six percentage points more - the increase was lower in the past year.

At that time, however, the time of the survey was also before the very long first corona winter with month-long shutdowns as well as school and daycare closings, before home office was compulsory and before the triumphant advance of virus variants.

Despite their own good financial situation, despite the widespread experience of increasing prosperity - middle-aged Germans are most worried about their own wallets: Almost three out of four respondents said they were "very worried" about the current high inflation, i.e. about price increases close. Three out of five respondents were "very worried" about rising taxes and duties. Consistently fewer, but still more than half of the 30 to 59-year-olds, on the other hand, are “very worried” about social or even global problems and future threats: that the gap between rich and poor could widen, for example, that there is not enough Nursing staff indicates that the coronavirus could not be brought under control, the climate crisis.

The fear of an even greater division in society and the fear of increasing extremism just make it into the top ten major worries.

In contrast, only a minority is concerned about Germany's economic development.

The political agenda of the middle generation looks accordingly.

Apparently, she expects the new traffic light coalition to "take special care" in as many different areas of activity, but most often in relation to the shortage of nursing staff and inflation.

According to the wish of many respondents, the traffic light should also secure and strengthen the health system and pension with particular vigor.

Fewer respondents see the fight against the corona pandemic and the climate crisis as a special priority, but still significantly more than half. Many of these expectations of action for the new federal government are associated with high costs for the state - keywords shortage of care, health system and above all pensions. Apparently, the middle-aged Germans have a preference where the money should come from: certainly not through higher taxes for themselves, but also not for the wealthy - only 40 percent find the higher taxation of high incomes and wealth a priority. The middle generation seems to prefer the task of the debt brake - only 33 percent think that national debt should be limited, so little approval was given to no other field of action.

The fact that the climate crisis is relatively high in the specifications of the middle generation for the new federal government, but only in seventh place, could be due to the fact that the danger from global warming is well perceived, but more latent than acute. Because more than 80 percent are worried - about half of them big, the other half less big, but still worried.

However, very few members of the middle generation perceive the climate crisis as a personal threat. Only around a quarter believe they are severely or very severely threatened, while 70 percent feel little or no danger to themselves. In contrast, the respondents assess the threat situation for the next generation quite differently: 69 percent anticipate a strong or very strong one Threat. The middle generation wants to protect the climate less for themselves than for their children.

This year, the pollsters asked the middle generation specifically about another of the big topics of the future - one in which the corona pandemic revealed considerable deficits in Germany: the functionality of the state.

Only 24 percent rated the administration as largely functional and efficient, 66 percent rated it only to a limited extent.

Only 19 percent of those surveyed believe that this will change quickly under the new federal government, 53 percent doubt it.

»Only one in five expects that the modernization of the country will be tackled quickly.

Probably because of the Corona crisis management, among other things, the 30 to 59-year-olds see considerable efficiency deficits in the state and its institutions compared to the economy, "says Jörg Asmussen, General Manager of the GDV.

"From the perspective of the 'middle generation', digitization is also making slow progress, especially in areas for which the state is responsible," says Asmussen.

On the other hand, the respondents see the economy and, above all, personal everyday life changing at a rapid pace due to digitization.

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2021-12-08

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