A Global Middle Class is More Promise than Reality

Pew Research Center

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Date Published 2015
Primary Author Rakesh Kochhar, Michelle Atkinson
Other Authors Renee Stepler, Anna Brown, James Bell, Claudia Deane, Diana Yoo, Bill Webster, Ben Wormald, Danielle Alberti, Dana Amihere, Fatima Ghani
Theme Housing Finance and the Economy


This report examines changes in the distribution of the global population by income from 2001 to 2011. Of special interest is the change in the global middle-income population, or the global middle class. The analysis encompasses 111 countries, which accounted for 88% of the global population and 85% of world output in 2011. The study is among the first to make use of 2011 purchasing power parities (PPPs) that are based on the latest available benchmark estimates of price levels around the world. Estimates are presented for the world and for the major regions, such as Asia & South Pacific, Africa, and Europe. The report also highlights trends in selected major countries, such as in China and India; trends in the U.S. and other advanced economies; and developments in Eastern Europe.

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