Brandt School Universität Erfurt

Guest Lecture on ‘Poverty in Thuringia’ by Professor Dr. Jörg Fischer

On November 8, Professor for Educational Concepts at the University of Applied Sciences Erfurt, Dr. Jörg Fischer, held a guest lecture on ‘Poverty Prevention in Thuringia – Between Empirical Data and Subjective Discriminations’.

Professor Fischer holds an M.A. in Educational Science and Sociology from the Friedrich Schiller University Jena and a doctorate degree in Educational Science from the University of Dortmund. Since he is also the head of the Erfurt-based Institute for Municipal Planning and Development (Institut für Kommunale Planung und Entwicklung – IKPE), he has knowledge and real insight into policy making in German communities. The IKPE offers continued assessment and strategic advice to municipal authorities.

In his guest lecture at the Brandt School, Professor Fischer specifically spoke on poverty in Thuringia, introducing empirical data as well as contradictions to existing stereotypes in German society. For instance, despite the general thinking that the elderly comprise the largest group of poor people, in fact, the largest group that is ‘poor at risk’ in Germany is the population aged 18 – 25 is (about 25 percent). However, both child poverty and the possible poverty of the working population, who will be retiring within the next ten years, remain important topics.

Additionally, the existing stereotypes of poor people in German society often contradicts with empirical findings. Poverty is often thought to be related to unemployment, but this is not the case. Actually, the working poor, as the proportion of employed persons living below the poverty line, is becoming a growing number. Most importantly, Professor Fischer’s guest lecture showed that it is not the individual fault of a person if they are unemployed or poor. Consequently, policy makers need to consider all types and consequences of poverty – and forget stereotypes.