The outbreak of the pandemic brought sudden blows to many citizens. There were financial and health concerns. The exceptional situation at the time made visible and deepened the social differences between certain groups of the population. For some, social cohesion was not in sight at first. However, according to “Radar Social Cohesion 2020”, society has proven absolutely robust during the coronavirus crisis because: social cohesion has not only strengthened since the outbreak, but has also grown enormously since then. This is what Dr. Kai Unzicker, Bertelsmann Foundation expert for social cohesion. © andyller for stock.adobe.com
Social cohesion increases
It is interesting that, overall, people in Germany rate social cohesion more positively after the first months of the coronavirus pandemic than when it started in March 2020. Overall, therefore, trust has increased. In February and March of last year, as part of the “Radar Social Cohesion 2020” study, 3,010 people were representatively interviewed about this finding, and after the end of the first contact restriction between May and June, another 1,000 people were interviewed. In February, 46% of respondents considered cohesion in Germany to be at risk. In March, the Skäpzi fell to 40%, and in May and June it was only 36%.
There was also the impression that citizens care more about their fellow citizens and are in solidarity. In February, 41% were pessimistic about social cohesion, while only 21% shared this view in May and June. Not only did trust in other human beings increase, but so did trust in the federal government. Confidence rose from 19% to 30% in March and even to 45% at the third point of the survey.
Kai Unzicker said: “In our snapshot to early June, we see an uptick in overall sentiment.” He also said: “Many people were initially relieved that the initial impacts of the pandemic have been so mild so far. eyes. At the same time, most of them experienced great solidarity and consideration.” If you compare the result of the study with the previous study from 2017, social cohesion turns out to be extremely positive and stable.
“Although many citizens are worried about coexistence, our data shows that cohesion in Germany is still robust overall,” Unzicker summarizes the result of the time comparison. When measured on a scale from 0 (low) to 100 (high) for the West German states, the average value even rose from 60 to 62 points. In East Germany, the value is still 58 points. In the study, however, there are also surveys that show that many citizens do not experience cohesion in Germany so strongly and perceive it rather as low. People with below-average education, low economic status and migrant backgrounds tend to be pessimistic about cohesion.
Individual households and single parents are also more afraid of the future. Especially since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, these social differences have become even more pronounced. The crisis usually proves to be difficult especially for those who are already disadvantaged. Despite several surveys, 90% of those questioned repeatedly stated that they are coping well with the crisis and its effects. People who felt a high degree of cohesion from the beginning are still experiencing less strain after a few months at the beginning of summer. They worried less about the future, rarely feeling alone or burdened by circumstances and arrangements.
Despite the pandemic, citizens’ concerns decreased in the first half of 2020, while in February more than half of all respondents still felt so badly affected by the economic crisis and the pandemic that they were plagued by financial worries. At the beginning of the summer, however, it was only 47%. Fear of job loss fell from 44% to 31% at that time. Concerns about the economic and financial crisis or illness also fell by a few percent. What is interesting above all is that supporters of the extreme political spectrum of the Left Party and AfD perceived much less cohesion than the center, which perceives cohesion much more positively. Right-wing party supporters generally showed low levels of trust in institutions and acceptance of diversity. Leftist supporters tend to feel a lack of social justice.
“Exactly because of the experience of the current crisis situation, single parents, migrants and people with lower education are at risk of falling out of the social network. If, for example, the situation with childcare or home education does not improve significantly in the near future, or even worsens again, it will primarily be at the expense of these groups,” says Kai Unzicker.
Despite the pandemic, citizens’ concerns decreased in the first half of 2020, while in February more than half of all respondents still felt so badly affected by the economic crisis and the pandemic that they were plagued by financial worries. At the beginning of the summer, however, it was only 47%. Fear of job loss fell from 44% to 31% at that time. Concerns about the economic and financial crisis or illness also fell by a few percent. The aim is to create support and care offers in places so that they provide the necessary help and can act in a targeted manner.
You can find the entire study on the website Bertelsmann Foundation
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