From the end of the Second World War onwards, a middle class emerged in Germany that was, by international standards, broadly based. The economic basis for this middle class was good pay and relatively low income differentiation, which was the result of collective agreement on a high coverage rate. Since the mid-1990s, however, the economic basis of middle-class prosperity and security has been crumbling. In the primary distribution, the share of households in the middle-income groups fell by almost ten percentage points, from 56.4 per cent to 48 per cent, between 1992 and 2013. The welfare state was no longer able to compensate fully for this unequal primary distribution. An increase in coverage by collective agreements, the re-regulation of atypical employment forms and the elimination of all incentives to take marginal, part-time jobs are the keys to strengthening the middle-income groups in Germany.