Is the middle class shrinking? The data suggest a heterogeneous picture, but genuine success stories are rare: In most countries, the situation of the middle class has deteriorated, especially with regard to its share of total wealth. Since the 2008 financial crisis, only three countries have seen the wealth share unequivocally improve: Austria, the Netherlands and South Korea.
However, similar figures reflect very different realities: In Germany and Sweden, for example, the low share of the middle class is mainly due to a relatively larger upper class.
Looking ahead, the direct impact of Covid-19 is likely to have increased inequality in many countries but generous state support may have cushioned the blow. The bigger concern will be the consequences of disrupted education, which could further entrench social immobility.