Generations get worse over time

"Every second person feels worse today" : Corona crisis hits the "middle generation" very badly

The crisis hits them in the middle of the "rush hour of life". Having children, advancing careers, perhaps looking after relatives - around 35 million people in Germany belong to the “middle generation”, the 30 to 59-year-olds who are fully committed to life and have to achieve a lot. They generate more than 80 percent of taxable income in Germany and make up around 70 percent of the workforce. You are, so to speak, the backbone of society.

The “middle generation” is feeling the consequences of the corona pandemic all the harder - with a view to the economic situation, but also with regard to their own attitude towards life. This age group is currently experiencing an unprecedented low in mood, as a current study by the Allensbach Institute shows, for which around 1000 men and women were surveyed. "The social climate is in the basement," says the study.

In fact, the results are alarming: The “middle generation” is not only losing hope to a large extent, it is heavily burdened by the crisis - and deeply divided. "Every second person feels worse today than they did before the crisis," says Allensbach managing director Renate Köcher. “The vast majority sees more aggression and egoism than growing solidarity.” Only 13 percent recognize an increase in helpfulness.

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"I feel worse"

Overall, a majority believe that the pandemic will change the country forever, but not for the better. "The middle generation has the feeling of living in a colder, more uncomfortable society than before," says Köcher. In 2019, 46 percent were optimistic about the future, now it is only 22 percent. 48 percent say about 2020: "I'm worse off."

Read at Tagesspiegel Plus how the corona crisis is changing society:

The collapse in mood is mainly due to the uncertainty in Corona times, says Köcher. Despite the hope of a vaccine, around 70 percent are preparing for a longer state of emergency - and see this uncertainty as the currently greatest burden. 50 percent consider restrictions such as visiting bans to be the biggest problem.

43 percent are afraid that daycare centers and schools will have to close again soon. In contrast, only 16 percent of those surveyed are concerned that trips abroad are hardly possible at the moment. The fear of infection is also comparatively low. Only one in three is very worried about it.

Many women no longer want to go back to their old everyday lives

Traveling less is the biggest change in everyday life that people feel. 58 percent see it that way. However, more than half (54 percent) also state that they learned something new during the pandemic, namely to appreciate more what was previously taken for granted. However, 52 percent of those surveyed want to get back to their usual everyday life so quickly after the crisis - especially the men. Around a third would like more time with the family and less hectic pace for the time after Corona.

Women in particular wanted to slow down more, says Köcher. The “balancing act” between work and family was often an “overstretch” for them even before the pandemic. Around 60 percent of men, as Quiver puts it, said: “Give me back an old life.” Less than half of women would like that.

The losers and the others

The “middle generation” views the financial consequences of the pandemic in two ways. "We see that this economic crisis is dividing society," says Jörg Asmussen, General Manager of the German Insurance Association, who commissioned the study. More than 40 percent of those surveyed in the pandemic have already suffered or fear a loss of income. Every fourth person is afraid for their own job.

Almost half, on the other hand, do not expect any negative consequences for their own income. Asmussen speaks of “different levels of concern”. In other words: the unequal distribution of the burdens in the crisis divides the “middle generation” into two camps - those who have lost the crisis and those who are hardly burdened.

Overall, the view of globalization and "derived from the social market economy," says Asmussen. A large majority of 75 percent are very concerned about the economic situation in Germany. "At the same time, fewer and fewer people share the impression that the German economy is primarily benefiting from globalization," the study says. Today only 48 percent are convinced of the advantages of globalization, 41 percent even believe that it is complicit in the pandemic. Three years ago, a majority of 64 percent saw globalization as positive.

Skepticism about climate change is just as great. 63 percent are certain that it will not stop - also because the federal government is doing too little, as around half of the respondents believe. For Asmussen this is an alarm signal: "For the first time, a majority of the Generation Middle’ is rejecting the idea of ​​globalization, "he says. "That worries me, because without strong international cooperation, especially in the EU, we will neither cope with Corona nor climate change."

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