Published On: November 24th, 2023Categories: Data, Best Of Lists, EuropeTags: , , , , , , , , , ,

12 Countries in Europe With a Strong Middle Class

12 Countries in Europe With a Strong Middle Class

America continues to see its middle class squeezed out of existence.

According to research from Pew Research Center, the U.S. middle class shrank 11% since 1970—many of them falling into poverty while driving wealth inequality even higher.

But surely, the U.S. continues to have the biggest middle class, right? Pew research says a middle income adult lives on $10-$50 per day; the U.S. poverty line, for context, sits at $15.90 per day. Here’s the countries that have a stronger middle class (and lower income inequality) compared to the United States:

Denmark

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Denmark ties for first place for having the largest middle-income population. A full 80% of the Danish population belonged to middle-income households in 2010, holding steady with their same percentage in 1991.

Learn more about moving to Denmark

Norway

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Sharing the top spot with Denmark, Norway counts 80% of its citizens among the middle class, boasting a strong social safety net that includes universal healthcare.

Learn more about moving to Norway

The Netherlands

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Middle income families reign supreme in the Netherlands. People in poverty actually dropped 6% from 1991-2010, raising the middle income ranks to 79% of Dutch citizens. The Netherlands maintains robust public transportation, government-led private insurance for all, and relaxed drug use policies.

Learn more about moving to the Netherlands

Finland

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The Finns tie with Luxembourg for 4th place in countries with largest middle class populations. Finland offers free college education to all, including international students.

Learn more about moving to Finland

Luxembourg

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While Luxembourg itself is small, its middle class certainly isn’t. Thanks to its robust social safety net and higher taxes on the wealthy, 75% of Luxembourgish citizens live in middle-income households. Healthcare is either free or highly subsidized here.

Learn more about moving to Luxembourg

France

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France comes in at 6th place for the largest middle-income population worldwide. 74% of French people live comfortably within this bracket. The country invites more creative immigrants to live here up to four years with its artist’s long-stay visa.

Learn more about moving to France

Germany

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Germany considers 72% of its population to be part of the middle class. Along with free college for all students, German employers grant 27-30 vacation days per year (excluding holidays) and a 36-40 hour work week.

Learn more about moving to Germany

Ireland

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Ireland, like the U.S. saw a seismic shift between lower and middle class in recent decades. Unlike the U.S., Ireland’s increased wages moved 9% of its population out of poverty since 1991. Today, 69% of Irish citizens belong to the middle class.

Learn more about moving to Ireland

United Kingdom

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The UK has also seen a rise in middle-income households. Thanks to welfare programs like universal healthcare and extensive public transport options, two-thirds of their people can keep calm and carry on in middle-income households.

Learn more about moving to United Kingdom

Italy

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Italy ties with the UK, reporting 67% of its population as being in the middle class. Along with its wine and Mediterranean coastlines, Italians get visa-free access to 27 other countries in Europe’s Schengen Zone.

Learn more about moving to Italy

Spain

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Spain closes out our list of highest middle-income households, counting 64% of its people in the middle class. Aside from being welcoming to LGBTQ+ people and foreigners, Spain also considers healthcare a universal right, offering free or subsidized medical care to all legal residents after one year.

Learn more about our Spain scouting trip

Where does the U.S. middle class stand?

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As the Pew research shows, the U.S. falls behind each of these countries in terms of maintaining its middle class. About 61% of the U.S. population lived in middle-income households in 1971; this figure fell to 59% by 2010, the last year that data was available for all countries shown here. The middle class population dropped 9% over the next decade. Only half of Americans lived in middle-income households in 2021, with a full 29% of the U.S. population surviving on less than $16 per day, per person.

In addition to its shrinking middle class, the U.S. also denies its citizens many of the social benefits these countries offer. Benefits from these countries include affordable public healthcare, free college, extensive public transportation and more.

29 Countries That Will Never Offer Student Loan Forgiveness (Because College is Free)

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Getting buried under student loan debt doesn’t have to be your future. Instead of staying in the U.S. to get a college degree that could take decades to pay off, we’ve found 29 countries with free college for American student expats. But do you have to speak the language in order to get the education?

29 Countries That Will Never Offer Student Loan Forgiveness (Because College is Free)

You Can Get Citizenship by Ancestry in These 20 Countries

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More Americans are pursuing citizenship by ancestry in other countries by tracing their lineage and presenting proof of descent. Some countries, like South Africa, India, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, offer citizenship by ancestry, but at least one of your parents must have citizenship there, but many other countries offer citizenship to more than just the children of citizens.

No matter what country’s citizenship you pursue, the process takes time, and you may need help from an immigration attorney. Facebook groups are a great resource to learn from others who’ve been there.

You Can Get Citizenship by Ancestry in These 20 Countries

Tired of the Liberal Agenda in the US? Consider Moving to One of These Conservative Countries

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It’s a common refrain for Americans to say they’ll leave the country if their presidential candidate is bested by an opponent. Sometimes that’s followed with a promise to move to Canada specifically, but let’s face it—a republican who isn’t happy in the United States will be miserable in Canada.

These are top issues for republican voters:

Tired of the Liberal Agenda in the US? Consider Moving to One of These Conservative Countries

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Co-founder at Expatsi | + posts

Brett Andrews is the co-founder of Expatsi, a company that helps expats discover how to leave the U.S. Brett and his partner Jen developed the Expatsi Test to recommend countries to move to, based on factors like budget, visa type, spoken languages, healthcare rankings, and more. In a former life, he worked as a software developer, IT support specialist, and college educator. When he's not working, Brett loves watching comic book movies and reading unusual books.

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bed49dc5d4263d6d37b46cb09574d411?s=150&d=mp&r=g
Co-founder at Expatsi | + posts

Brett Andrews is the co-founder of Expatsi, a company that helps expats discover how to leave the U.S. Brett and his partner Jen developed the Expatsi Test to recommend countries to move to, based on factors like budget, visa type, spoken languages, healthcare rankings, and more. In a former life, he worked as a software developer, IT support specialist, and college educator. When he's not working, Brett loves watching comic book movies and reading unusual books.