The expansion of low wages has sparked a debate about the working poor in Germany. However, unemployment remains the most significant reason for becoming or remaining poor. (Re)integration of unemployed people into the labour market has therefore been the policy priority. Since reforms in 2005, more employed people have received supplementary welfare benefits and some people starting work may still receive the lower level of unemployment benefit.
Fundamentally linked to the social market economy is the idea that everyone has the opportunity for social advancement, regardless of their social background, and that children should be better off than their parents.
In 2018, roughly every second German was a member of the middle class as measured by income, a proportion which has barely changed for more than a decade. However, the lower income threshold of this middle-income group has risen - an indication of increased ...