The Downside Of Recovery: Germany's Middle Class Is Vanishing


Photo: scjody via Flickr

Since the year 2000, the German middle class has slowly diminished, while the gap between rich and poor is wider than ever, a recent study by the German Institute of Economic Science shows.The middle class now represents 61.5% of the population, down from 64% 10 years earlier. The number of people with lower income, on the other hand, has increased by four percentage points to 22%, and the richest now represent 19% of the population, or 3 percentage points more than in 2000.

Some newspapers have gone so far as to talk about “Panic in the middle class”, as in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung. But some experts pointed out that as the lower class’ proportion to the population is growing, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the middle class is vanishing, but simply that the lower income class is increasing. Sociologue Meinhard Miegel said to the FAZ that a big part of the “new poor” were people with immigration background.

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