Majority of Germans are pessimistic about the future, survey finds

Majority of Germans are pessimistic about the future, survey finds

2023 was the year that the doomsday clock hit 90 seconds to midnight. According to a recent survey done by German broadcasters RTL and ntv, many in the federal republic have got a watchful eye on the time, and they aren’t feeling so optimistic.

64 percent have noticed the mood change to pessimism in Germany

As the world faces a web of crises, people in Germany are losing their sense of optimism. According to a new poll conducted by the Forsa Institute on behalf of the German broadcasters ntv and RTL, 64 percent of Germans feel as though there has been a mood shift towards pessimism in the past five years.

The majority (63 percent) of those asked said that their personal life circumstances remained largely unchanged, but nonetheless, they felt that something was amiss. This was felt most acutely in the eastern German states, where 70 percent reported feeling as though they were less confident about the coming years than they had been in the past.

Despondency with Germany’s current coalition government has been rising in eastern states throughout 2023, with the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party pushing through the polls during the summer months. 

East Germans’ feeling of being left behind by Berlin since the fall of the Wall and the ongoing inequality between the old and new states is a topic which has been much discussed of late, and one that was explored by a recent ARD documentary. Working longer hours and earning less than those in western states, Hört uns zu! Wir Ostdeutsche und der Westen saw presenter Jessy Wellmer explore whether Germans living in the new states consider themselves treated as second-class citizens in the united republic. The verdict? A mixed bag of Jas and Neins - an overall Jein.

Young Germans are worried about the state of Deutsche Bahn

One of the respondents’ main reflections was on what the future holds for young people in Germany. Of those asked, 71 percent said that they thought that young people would have a worse living standard in the future than they currently do.

Among young people themselves though, there was an air of optimism - 46 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds said that they didn’t think that their quality of life would in the future be lower than that of other people. 

But the youth of today can’t be accused of a naive optimism, the aspect of everyday life in Germany which frustrates them the most is too pragmatic to give such a charge footing. It is none other than die Bahn. 69 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 to 29 said that the state of Deutsche Bahn, with its incessant delays and sprawling structural shortcomings, was deeply worrying to them.

Other causes for concern among respondents of all ages were the lack of available appointments at Germany’s doctors, problems interacting with administrative bodies such as the Bürgeramt or Finanzamt and being dissatisfied with childcare and the school system in Germany.

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Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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