Child Indicators Research

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 1-19

First online:

Children Growing Up in Poverty and Their Ideas on What Constitutes a Good Life: Childhood Studies in Germany

  • Sabine AndresenAffiliated withBielefeld University, Faculty of Education
  • , Susann FegterAffiliated withBielefeld University, Faculty of Education Email author 

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This article reports on childhood studies in Germany including two empirical research projects. It concentrates on children living in poverty and on findings regarding how children conceive justice and the “good life.” Starting with an overview of the state of the art in German childhood studies, it reports the methods and major findings of the World Vision Survey. Although this representative study of 1,600 children clearly confirms the growth of child poverty in Germany, it was unable to show how the children themselves experience their situation. This leads to the second study of 200 really poor children from Hamburg and Berlin. Focusing on how these children define justice and the good life along with what they understand by these terms, it examined how Martha Nussbaum’s Capability Approach can contribute to progress in childhood studies.


Childhood studies Perspectives of children Social inequality Poverty The good life The capability approach Well-being of children Martha Nussbaum Quantitative survey Ethnographic study