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Nominal gross earnings in Germany have risen continually since 2005. They went up from 2,901 euros in 2005 to 3,880 euros in 2018. The difference between East and West Germany is still large, although monthly gross earnings have also continually developed positively in East Germany. So far there has been no evident tendency to alignment. Whereas in 2005 gross monthly earnings in West Germany were on average 770 euros higher than in East Germany, the difference in 2018 was even more marked at 844 euros. Yet we are far from being able to talk of a closing of the gaps in wages between East und West.

In the last thirteen years, on average nominal monthly gross earnings in West Germany rose by 76 euros, in East Germany by 70 euros. Thus average gross monthly earnings in West Germany have increased somewhat more amply than in East Germany, with two exceptions: firstly, in 2009 a small kink in the rise was discernible in West Germany – as a consequence of the financial and economic crisis –, but not in East Germany. East German gross monthly earnings had gone up further despite the crisis. Secondly, at 126 euros the rise in 2015 compared to the previous year in East Germany was markedly larger than in West Germany, where nominal gross monthly earnings increased by 74 euros. In 2017 the monthly gross earnings rose compared to the previous year in East Germany slightly more than in West Germany (75 euros vs. 66 euros), but in 2018 this trend already turns around when there is a bigger monthly gross earnings increase in West Germany compared to 2017 (109 euros vs. 101 euros).

Further explanations:

Gross earnings: gross earnings encompass the regularly paid taxable wage plus ex gratia payments and tax-free bonuses, e.g. for night and shift work. They are often shown as average gross monthly or gross hourly earnings.


Federal Statistical Office




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