Modern Germany is the economic and political leader of the European Union and an active participant in the system of international relations. Over the past decades, the state has made incredible economic and social progress, making life in Germany a dream for millions of foreigners from all corners of the globe. Not surprisingly, between 2015 and 2020, the country received more than 1.3 million refugees, mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, who sought to settle on German territory.

Germany's population exceeds 83 million people. In addition to ethnic Germans, there are Turks, Italians, Greeks, Serbs, Poles, Russians and representatives of many other nationalities. According to experts, the best cities to live in Germany are Munich, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Hamburg. The largest number of migrants go to these settlements. Next, let's talk more about prices and costs of living, tax rates, popular professions, salaries, pros and cons of immigration and living in Germany in 2024.

Living in Germany

Pros and cons of living in Germany

Undoubtedly, the positives of moving to Germany for permanent residence far outnumber the negatives. Especially when you consider the level of potential income and quality of social security when it comes to employment in German companies. Nevertheless, to be objective, let's highlight the pros and cons of living in Germany, which are often overlooked.

Pros of living in Germany

  • Germany is part of the European Union, so local citizens and foreigners with a German residence permit have the right to travel freely within the Schengen area, as well as a number of other rights and responsibilities.

  • Very high quality education system – from elementary school to universities. And at public universities in Germany is free to study, including for foreigners.

  • A stable political situation, a transparent legal system and well-developed democratic institutions, including fair elections and freedom of speech.

  • Excellent infrastructure, clean streets and efficient public transport system.

  • Low crime rate, quality medicine and relatively affordable real estate rental prices.

  • High standard of living, high wages and decent working conditions. Workers are guaranteed annual leave, social benefits and other rights.

  • Germany is a very beautiful country with a comfortable climate, delicious food and many attractions, including cultural and sporting events.

Pros and cons of living in Germany

Cons of living in Germany

  • Despite the widespread use of English among young people, without knowledge of German to communicate with the inhabitants of Germany in most cities (except Berlin) is quite difficult.

  • The excessive orderliness and punctuality of Germans is sometimes annoying.

  • In many public institutions there is a fair amount of bureaucracy.

  • Germans are not as friendly and open-minded as some other peoples of Western countries.

  • Fast career advancement for foreigners is almost unreal.

  • Many supermarkets close early, and on Sundays most stores do not open at all.

  • Complicated legislation, especially regarding taxation, health insurance and labor relations.

Prices and cost of living in Germany

Unlike many developed countries in Western Europe, the cost of living in Germany is considered quite reasonable, even in major metropolitan areas. For example, living in Berlin is much cheaper than in European capitals such as Paris, London, and Rome. Lunch in a cafe costs 7-12 euros, and going to the cinema 12-15 euros.

According to official data from the Federal Statistical Office, a household in Germany spends €1,327 per month on housing, food and clothing. At that, only for housing about 877 euros is spent, and for food and clothes 342 and 108 euros respectively.

The highest cost of living in Germany is observed in Munich, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf. In Bremen, Leipzig and Berlin it is slightly cheaper to live. On the other hand, working in Munich provides higher wages compared to the same German capital.

As a rule, the most prominent expenditure of immigrants in Germany is to rent or buy real estate. Much depends on the part of the country, city and district, but on average property prices (family home, plus garage) in Germany are as follows:

  • 150,000 euros for 100 sq. m.

  • 240,000 euros for 100-140 m2

  • 310,000 euros for 140-180 m2

  • 530,000 euros or more for 180 m2

Renting a one-room apartment in Germany, depending on the city, costs from 500 to 1,350 euros per month.

Prices in Germany in 2024

  • Bread (500 grams) – 1.92 euros

  • Milk (1 L) – 1.08 euros

  • Eggs (12 eggs) – 3.27 euros

  • Chicken Fillets (1 kg) – 14.97 euros

  • Potatoes (1 kg) – 1.60 euros

  • German cheese (1 kg) – 12.15 euros

  • Bananas (1 kg) – 1.35 euros

  • Apples (1 kg) – 2.37 euros

  • Gasoline (1 liter) – 1.75 euros

  • Cab (1 km) – 2 euros

  • Public transport (one-way ticket) – 3.00 euros

  • Monthly bus pass – 49 euros

  • Utilities (85 sq. m.) – 296.80 euros per month

  • Mobile Tariff Local (month) – 19.62 euros

  • Internet – 46.49 euros per month

Note. The above prices are average figures for different cities in Germany.

Taxes in Germany

Taxes in Germany

All German residents, including non-residents, are personally responsible for paying taxes and mandatory social payments. In 2024 the non-taxable minimum is €11,604 and for a married couple €23,208.

Tax rates in Germany in 2024

Income tax:

  • Income up to 11,604 euros per year – 0%

  • Income from 11,604 to 66,760 euros per year – 14%

  • Income from 66,760 to 277,825 euros per year – 42%

  • Income over 277,825 euros per year – 45%

Social contributions (employee/employer):

  • Pension – 18.6% (9,3-9,3%)

  • Unemployment insurance – 2,4% (1,2/1,2%)

  • Health insurance – 14,6% (7,3/7,3%)

  • Care insurance (disability, old age) – 3,05 (1,525/1,525%)

Accident insurance – depends on industry and accident risk (employer only)

Solidarity tax – 5.5%

Church tax – 8-9%

VAT – 19% (reduced rates – 7 and 0%)

Corporate tax – including municipal taxes the rate varies from 22.83% to 36.83%, on average 29.79%

Jobs and wages in Germany

The prosperity of the German economy is largely due to one of the most efficient and highly qualified labor markets in the world. Hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs and job seekers from abroad want to open a business in Germany or find a decent job.

Moving and a long life in Germany for foreigners from the third countries most often associated with the process of employment. Note that migrant workers outside of the European Union are required to obtain a German work visa and meet a number of other requirements.

The most in-demand professions in Germany are concentrated in industry, medicine, information technology, finance, science, and education. In particular, engineers, registered nurses, social workers, computer programmers, teachers and power engineers are needed.

The minimum wage in Germany in 2024 is €12.41 per hour, and the average income is about €4,105 per month. After paying taxes, a German worker has about €2,800 at his or her disposal. The highest income in Germany comes from the state of Hesse and the lowest from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Higher education in Germany

Higher education in Germany

Germany is one of the few countries with free higher education for both nationals and foreigners. The only thing is that since the fall of 2017 there is a tuition fee of 1,500 euros per semester for students from countries outside of the EU in Baden-Württemberg. But in most cases only a token administrative fee of around 100-200 euros per semester is charged.

Over the past 5 years the proportion of students from abroad at German universities has increased by more than 30%. According to the prestigious QS World University Rankings® 2024 the best universities in Germany are the Technical University and the Ludwig and Maximilian University of Munich and the oldest university in the country, the Ruprecht and Karl Heidelberg University.

Medicine in Germany

German health care system consists of three major fields: rehabilitation institutions, outpatient and in-patient care. And four principles – compulsory insurance, financing through premiums, solidarity and self-administration – underlie its functioning.

Every citizen and permanent resident of Germany must have statutory health insurance. If you wish and have the means, you can choose private insurance. Health care is financed mainly by insurance premiums paid by employees and employers as well as by tax revenue.

Germany has a very high standard of living and all conditions are in place for a stable future. The local economy is growing and in the next 10 years will need several million skilled workers from abroad. According to German statistical agencies, there will be 10.6 million foreigners living in Germany in 2024. Between 2017 and 2020 alone, more than 1 million people arrived in the country, many of them citizens of European Union states such as Poland, Romania and Bulgaria.

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