Pros and cons of living in Germany: survey results and statistics
Germany is attractive for its standard of living, many social benefits for residents, as well as the famous German autobahns, European standards and the degree of organization at all levels. Let's look at the features and pitfalls of moving to Germany.
Germany has over 21 million people with migrant backgrounds, making it the world's second largest migrant population after the United States.
The country ranks 42nd out of 52 in the Expat Insider 2022 survey and also ranks a crushing last 52nd in the Expat Essentials Index. This result is driven by poor reviews in three of the four subcategories: Housing (47th), Language (49th), and Digital Life (48th). Let's start with their review.
Rental housing shortage in Germany
56% of the surveyed expats negatively assessed the experience of finding housing in Germany.
You need to start looking for rental housing in advance, especially if you are going to a large city such as Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart or Frankfurt.
In Germany, demand significantly exceeds supply, there are long queues for viewing an object, and the pricing policy is not the most comfortable. For example, a one-room apartment in the suburbs of Munich will cost about 1400€, in Heidelberg - 1000€, in small towns and villages can be found for 600-800€.
Moreover, housing must be sought with the possibility of registration. If you do not register, you will not receive a tax number, without which you will be subject to the highest tax rate. Also often, potential tenants are required to have a credit history, a deposit of 2-3 rents, and most housing is rented unfurnished.
"The Awful German Language"
This is the title of a humorous essay by Mark Twain. But there is some truth in every joke. German nouns have three grammatical genders (masculine, feminine and neuter), there are also four cases, and some German verbs are split into two parts and then placed in different parts of the sentence.
In addition, there are different dialects in Germany. If you learn the standard German dialect (Hochdeutsch) and then travel to another region like Bavaria, it will be quite difficult for you to communicate.
55% of expats find German difficult to learn. For comparison, the global average for the difficulty of learning another language is 38%. Many everyday tasks are difficult to solve without knowledge of German. Most often, knowledge of the language is necessary in public institutions (we will also talk about the German bureaucracy later), at the post office, in medical institutions in small cities.
Get your cash ready
Three out of ten respondents are categorically dissatisfied with the quality of cashless payments in Germany. It is simply impossible to make an instant transfer of money from a bank card to another bank card here. In addition, bank transfers are not available on weekends.
Thus, the level of digital services that people in many countries are accustomed to in Germany remains at the MVP level (Minimal Viable Product).
The procedure for opening a bank account is another difficult obstacle for non-residents and newcomers. You will need a package of documents (another of many that are needed for legalization in the country), which will not be easy to collect, and you will have to make payments in order to rent a house, pay for your studies or receive a transfer.
Bureaucracy and taxes
The Germans value maximum organization and very strictly comply with the law. When preparing for a visit to any state body, a perfectly assembled package of documents will help to avoid hassle.
In Germany, it is customary for the rich to pay more than the poor. This is called progressive taxation. Because the higher the income, the higher the tax deductions.
For example, if the total annual income of a married couple does not exceed 18 thousand euros, it is exempt from paying taxes. The lowest tax rate is levied on the income of representatives of professions, where the annual earnings do not exceed 30 thousand euros. The 42% rate applies to unmarried people with no children, with an annual income of more than 60 thousand euros, as well as married couples with an annual income of more than 120 thousand euros.
Positive aspects of living in Germany
Germany is a highly developed country where order and punctuality are valued, environmentally friendly, and the public transport network is well organized. Other benefits for expats include:
- German social security is organized in such a way that no one is left destitute on the street. The country is ready to take on assistance in difficult life situations, provides financial assistance for children and subsidies for the purchase of housing.
- Food prices in Germany are reasonable as there are many food chains in the country. Thus, product prices are competitive and it is possible to keep track of various promotional offers.
- Germany has a universal healthcare system that is considered one of the best in the world. The state pays for medical care and necessary drugs if the expat has health insurance.
- The integration of foreigners into the life of the country can be accelerated through various language and cultural adaptation courses. The Germans are also considered one of the friendliest peoples, so making friends with colleagues and neighbors will not be difficult.
Moving to Germany, like any other country in the world, is accompanied by difficulties and unpredictable situations. And you need to be mentally prepared for them. If you need help in the form of individual legal advice in order to deal with all the nuances of obtaining a visa, residence permit or German citizenship, order an online consultation or legal support on our website.
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Persons can visit hotels and stay there (outside hotel room) only if they wear respirator or face mask (including homemade mask), so that the nose and mouth are covered.
Hotel guests are obliged to keep the 1.5 meters distance.
Online check-in making in advance is recommended to avoid queues at check-in to hotel.
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