A 2017 Daily Mail article finds:

The vast majority of left-wing protesters arrested on suspicion of politically-fuelled offences in Berlin are young men who live with their parents, a new report found.


A third of them were unemployed, and 92 per cent still live with their parents.

Is it true that 92% arrested left wing protesters live with their parents?

  • 11
    I don't understand; is that relevant for anything? Is the implication that people should be treated differently when they are unemployed or live with their parents?
    – gerrit
    Feb 8, 2017 at 23:23
  • 5
    @gerrit - depends on what you mean by "treated differently". I most certainly am personally less inclined to respect a political opinion of how things should be run coming out of someone who neither has even remotely the experience with working hard for a living (or working at all) and trying to support themselves; OR capability to get somewhere in life by a certain age. Somewhat elitist, I suppose.
    – user5341
    Feb 9, 2017 at 1:08
  • 14
    @user5341 Perhaps so. Plenty of nurses and teachers in big European cities live with their parents because nurses or teachers salaries are insufficient to rent a place (let alone buy). I expect many of them support more affordable housing and vote on the left. I respect their opinions very much. And a third unemployed is not that much higher than general youth unemployment. Clearly the large majority of those living with their parents in this quote are claimed to be not unemployed. But perhaps homeless teachers & nurses should have gone into "useful jobs" like investment banking?
    – gerrit
    Feb 9, 2017 at 1:17
  • 9
    @user5341 Even if the claim is true, you don't know why those people are living with their parents and why some are unemployed. Regardless, what the Daily Fail is doing here is a classical ad hominem.
    – gerrit
    Feb 9, 2017 at 1:29
  • 3
    @user5341 Continuing tangentially (surely this comment thread will be deleted imminently); in London nurses or teachers are unlikely to be unemployed but a beginning nurse doesn't earn nearly enough to pay rent (let alone mortgage) so they can either stay with parents, or commute very far, or live in squalid conditions, or find a rich partner. Perhaps Berlin is slightly less bad but I expect the situation exists in many big expensive cities around the world; my point is that even the underlying logic and point to the ad-hominem-claim is questionable these days.
    – gerrit
    Feb 9, 2017 at 1:36

1 Answer 1


The report that included those number says that the numbers are in no way representative and that it cannot make any statement about the living situation or unemployment rate of left-wing activists.

The claim was originally published by the German tabloid Bild, but has been described as inaccurate by Bildblog, Tagesspiegel, and SZ.

The report is available online: Linke Gewalt in Berlin.

About people living at home, it says:

Aufgrund der geringen Fallzahl, die hier zur Verfügung stand (insgesamt lagen nur zu 65 Tatver- dächtigen valide Aussagen über ihre Wohnsituation vor), sind diese Angaben jedoch in keiner Weise repräsentativ und auch nicht mit den Ergebnissen der Vorgängerstudie vergleichbar. Vielmehr dürf- ten die Verschiebungen - beispielsweise gaben in der Vorgängerstudie noch 57 % der Tatverdäch- tigen an, allein zu wohnen - zuallererst auf ein noch deutlich zurückhaltenderes Aussageverhalten der (vor allem nicht mehr im elterlichen Haushalt lebenden) Tatverdächtigen zurückzuführen sein.

My translation:

These numbers are in no way representative, because of the low number of accused people - only 65 people gave valid answer about their living situation. Because of this, the numbers can also not be compared to previous studies, which said that 57% of accused lived alone. The reason for the discrepancy is that most people - especially those not living at home - do not give information about their living situation.

About unemployment, it says:

Vor dem Hintergrund der geringen Anzahl [...] der Erwerbstätigkeit der Tatverdächtigen vorliegenden Fallzahlen lassen sich die vorstehenden Er- kenntnisse hierzu nicht verallgemeinern. Da nur zu weniger als einem Fünftel aller Tatverdächti- gen überhaupt entsprechende Daten vorlagen, können seriöse Aussagen über [...] den beruflichen Status linker Gewalttäter im Rahmen dieser Studie nicht getroffen werden.

My translation:

Because of the low number of replies to questions about the individual work situation the results cannot be generalized. Because there is only data about one-fifth of the accused, we cannot make any serious statements about the work situation of left-wing criminals.


The numbers are not about left-wing activists, but about those accused - but not convicted - of a crime in connection with left-wing activism. Only 65 of 873 accused even answered the question about their living situation, and the Verfassungsschutz assumes that people not living at home are more likely not to answer questions about their living situation. The same is true about unemployment: only a fifth answered the question, and the study says that because of this, it cannot make any claim about the actual unemployment rate.

  • 3
    Does the phrase you translate as "live at home" imply that they live with their parents? I mean, in a literal sense, practically everyone lives at home. Feb 9, 2017 at 4:10
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    @NateEldredge the source uses three different phrases to describe the same thing: "lebten bei ihren Eltern" (living with their parents), "allein zu wohnen" (living alone, probably a sloppy formulation when referring to previous studies), and "im elterlichen Haushalt lebenden" (living in the household of their parents). My translation is a bit sloppy in some aspects, but I retained the original meaning.
    – tim
    Feb 9, 2017 at 9:02
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    @Tim I'd afrgue that you mistranslated/understood "beispielsweise gaben in der Vorgängerstudie noch 57 % der Tatverdäch- tigen an, allein zu wohnen" slightly. In context it is mentioned as being in contrast to the current study, meaning that it does correctly translate to "living alone" as in "not living with their parents". The paragraph also makes a lot more sense that way.
    – DocM
    Feb 9, 2017 at 21:31

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