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Germany After Unification: Still a Twofold Society

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image of International Journal of Comparative Sociology
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German unity was formally established after more than 40 years. But the former GDR was and still is-compared with the "old" Federal Republic-a different society with a different welfare structure-not only in regard to many objective living conditions of the citizens, but also in regard to the demands, orientation, and assessments of those concerned. The level of satisfaction with individual areas of life or life in general is impressive in a (dramatically) negative sense in East Germany. The appraisals given by the new federal citizens are below the Western level in practically every area and changes between 1990 and 1991 even point in the direction of yet greater dissatisfaction. Using data from the "socio-economic panel" (SOEP-east) and the "welfare surveys" (Wohlfahrts survey 1988, 1990-east) the contribution will attempt to provide a picture of the social situation of the former GDR populace and document their perception of their living conditions, hopes, and fears as well as their assessment of the future. Empirical results applying to several elements of the social structure of the former GDR and to the subjective well-being of the East German populace, i.e. their demands and subjective evaluations, will be presented in the form of an east-west comparison and cover the development in East Germany between 1990 and 1991.


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