July 16, 2015

Are you in the global middle class? Find out with our income calculator

On a global scale, just 13% of the world’s population could be considered middle income in 2011, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of the most recently available data. Most people in the world were either low income (56%) or poor (15%), while only 9% lived at an upper-middle-income standard and 7% were high income.

See where you fit.

Start by entering your household’s income in 2014 in the currency of your country (our study covers 111 countries). This could be in daily, weekly, monthly or annual terms. Ideally, it should be the total income of all earners in the household. Your best guess will do. Next, enter the number of people in your household, including yourself. (Pew Research Center does not store or share any of the information you enter.)

The calculator estimates your equivalent income in 2011 and reports where you and others in your country might have stood in the global income distribution that year.

As our study defines it, people who are middle income, globally speaking, live on \$10.01-20 a day, which translates to an annual income of \$14,600 to \$29,200 for a family of four. The other four income groups are defined as follows: The poor live on \$2 or less daily, low income on \$2.01-10, upper-middle income on \$20.01-50, and high income on more than \$50. All figures are expressed in 2011 prices and converted to 2011 “purchasing power parity dollars” (exchange rates adjusted for differences in the prices of goods and services across countries).

How does the calculator work?

The household income you enter is converted to daily income per person in your household. Then, income for 2014 is adjusted for inflation from 2011 to 2014 using your country’s national consumer price index. This is done to allow for the likelihood that some of the change in your income from 2011 to 2014 is due to inflation in the period. The income is further adjusted for changes that may have occurred over and above any changes from inflation, i.e., for “real” income growth from 2011 to 2014.

Finally, income is converted from national currencies to purchasing power parity dollars. Because PPPs contain an adjustment for differences in the prices of goods and services across countries, this step makes your income comparable with that of people in other countries.

The end result is an estimate of your household’s daily per capita income in 2011, expressed in 2011 prices and 2011 purchasing power parities, yielding your placement in the global income distribution in 2011. (The estimated income is shown as the nearest whole number, but your place in the global distribution is based on a more precise estimate. For example, the calculator shows estimated daily incomes of both \$9.90 and \$10.30 as \$10 per day, but the income bracket will be reported as low income in the former case and as middle income in the latter.)

One of the limitations of the calculator is that it only works for the 111 countries covered in the Pew Research study. The other key limitation is that the adjustment we make for inflation and for real income growth from 2011 to 2014 is the same for all people from a given country. Your individual experience may, of course, be different.

If your income increased at a faster rate than the national average from 2011 to 2014, the calculator overestimates your income in 2011. Suppose that you live in the U.S. and you earned \$50 per day in 2014. Further suppose that your income in 2011 was \$40 per day. This means that your personal income growth from 2011 to 2014 is 20% (using 2014 as the base and accounting for both inflation and real income growth). But if national income in the U.S. increased only 10% from 2011 to 2014, the calculator will estimate your 2011 income to be \$45 per day (again, using 2014 as the base), greater than what it truly was.

Is this overestimate a problem for determining your place in the 2011 income distribution? Only if the overestimate puts you across a threshold for an income group. In the example above, the calculator will report that you were upper-middle income in 2011. That is correct whether your income in 2011 is \$40 per day or \$45 per day.

The same reasoning follows for people whose income growth may have been less than the national average from 2011 to 2014. For them, the calculator understates income in 2011 and may report placement in a lower income category in the global distribution than it would with a more precise estimate. However, as noted, this will happen only if the underestimate results in the crossing of a threshold for an income group.

(More complete details on the methodology for estimating the global distribution of people by income and its limitations are provided in our report. The report also contains information on the data sources.)

Updated Aug. 13, 2015: This new edition includes corrected estimates for Iceland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Taiwan.

1. is an associate director of research at Pew Research Center.

83 responses to “Are you in the global middle class? Find out with our income calculator”

1. T says:

Where is the UAE on the country list?

2. Anna says:

Sweden is missing in your list!
Would love if you could add it!
regards,
Anna

• Chris says:

+1 would be great if you could add Sweden

• OZDEN BALTEKIN says:

+1 for Sweden

• carlos says:

My friends from Sweden… you are all rich… don’t be afraid.
(Signed by: a Brazilian)

• Anonymous says:

Shut up i hsve lived 4 years without a house of my owm with food every 3rd day snd i mean only 1 meal every 3rd day. And food for a baby to feed and child care Esrning 1.40 an hour pray we dont get sick

3. Thomas says:

I can’t find AUSTRIA …

4. lj says:

Does this calculator take into consideration the high cost of real estate? For example the Netherlands real estate is extremely high. Basically after we have paid rent and bill we are nowhere near “middle income” we are living off of less than 6euro per day for 3 people after bills are paid. How is this correct?

• Nyara Chan says:

It already considers real estate as it is adjusted to Power Purchasing Parity. It is right that you may live with 6 euros per day for 3 people, but everywhere else in the world, people has also need to pay for extremely costly real estate, with a third of the income.

5. Pj Wilcox says:

This also does not consider the cost of living or inflation. Cost of living is no way considered in these calculations just income.

6. Jhcp says:

If true then why when your research says high income, after doc, housing, food i have below poverty? Maybe your research should ask, after debt obligations, what \$ do you have left to kive 30-31 days?

• Nyara Chan says:

People in the Third World also have to pay for their doc, housing and food, just to receive services with awful quality and barely enough food to pass the month. As for debt comes, yeah, it does not consider it, why? Simple, nobody forces you to take a credit to start with. Most people in the third world does NOT have access to credit (or at most they can ask for credits up to 25% of their monthly income).

7. Jeanne Daniel says:

New Zealand is also missing.

8. JimB37 says:

I think it would be more meaningful if these calculations could be done on a countrywide basis in addition to worldwide. While we are all citizens of the world, we are more closely citizens of our individual countries, and it would be helpful if we could get this information by country.

Also, it would be more helpful if we could use more current income figures than those of 2011. This is 2015, and things change with time.

9. Muthyavan. says:

Just working on annual income does not reflect on true living standered. It should include ownership of own house and other properties . If you don’t posses these properties what you pay for living and personnel transport may take most of your income annually.

10. Frank Lewis says:

It is funny how I am so well off (world wide) and yet in Palm Beach County I feel like a poor step child.

• Gail Fiske says:

We American in general have NO concept of the nature of World poverty, how it is like to live like that….just watched a documentary of Palestinians in Israel living a bare bones existence on the Jordanian border….SAND, Desert, little vegetation, no jobs but from the ‘slavers” the Jews who by military usurpation occupy their lands…..These people have lived here for many generations…made it habitable by digging artisan wells for all families to share. could raise cattle, sheep, goats, horses, food for Life and livelihood …..1967 War/Invasion…Israeli’s ‘occupy’, take over/away rightful property, oust many, kill many, imprison many. Many refuse to leave ancestral homes (go where? no place to go…) Next move of Israeli, go to the sources of all the artisan wells water supply….drill very deep wells, cutting off the water supply for the entire Palestinian communities….charge fees to reestablish water supplies…..For a FEW yrs., the stop even though payments were mad, currently Palestinian in the valley are allotted 1 hr. of water per day…..OBJECT: Drive out the Palestinian…..We in America JUST don’t GET IT! Poor here, is very different from Poor in a lot of the rest of the world, and the relative tranquility of our lives generally speaking, in this country…..Well, in the Western World basically, developed nations. Watching documentaries on LinkTV about the state of lives in other countries, Bangladesh, India, even China, much of Central and South America, Africa….subsistence living, if that, the true hardships and lacks……….sorry…..but we Americans are Spoiled, whiners…..by /American standard I am Low income, by Global standard I am High Income at \$82.00 US per day….Interesting hah…..

11. Jan Birkemose says:

really nice interactive. Should the income be before paying taxes or after?

• Rakesh Kochhar says:

You may experiment by entering either income amount. The calculator reports your placement within broad income brackets. You may switch brackets if your income in 2011 in PPPs is estimated to be close to the boundary of an income group. The estimates that underlie the calculator use data on pretax incomes for some countries and data on consumption for some other countries (depending on which is available). More details are in the report: http://www.pewglobal.org/2015/07/08/appendix-methodology-and-data-sources/

12. robert says:

this does not address assets, like paid for home,paid for cars, no credit card debt. no family financial obligations.no fed or state income tax and breaks on local taxes for seniors. It does not reflect nest egg assets or safe environment

13. ME says:

Japan is Missing too

14. Dawn H says:

That calculator is bull. It does not factor in taxes(about 30% of annual salary=maybe \$15k-17k for myself), car payment(\$2400/yr), medical deductibles (\$4k/yr), car and home ins. (\$1400/yr), utility exp. about \$2k/yr, gas/tolls about \$1680/yr, rent/mortgage \$12,300/yr, groceries maybe \$200/month (not including holidays/family events), student loans that I have no idea how I’m going to start paying and can no longer get a forbearance on because “my income is too high.” I’m lucky if I have \$100 left after payday (bi-weekly) to spend on something. I’m not an extravagant person by any means either, I haven’t gone on a vacation in about 8 years, my car is about 8 years old and american made, and I’ve had to meet my health insurance deductible (\$4k/year which is actually in-network!!!) last year an emergency surgery and again this year for a bad fall in the winter.

If you want an accurate calculation, include tabs to include this info, because I sure as hell am not upper middle income (deducting my taxes from my salary) or high income (gross salary).

• This is not a study of money left over after all taxes and expenses. Of course you have these commitments, so does everyone. Incidentally, taxes go to pay for your quality of life…the infrastructure, the police, fire fighting, and the most powerful military establishment in the world. There are people in the USA who do not own houses or cars, and cannot afford medical insurance (despite improvements thru the ACA) nor can they afford higher education…if you can do all that, you are certainly wealthier than many, many Americans.
You and other American like you, need to examine the issues on the Bernie Sanders for President platform…as he speaks to every single difficulty you have enumerated. That’s one way to do something about it…join his revolution against the inequality.

• Gail Fiske says:

thank you for the promotion of BERNIE!! Wonderful to see!

15. The tool produces the same results for 2 people and annual income of \$40,000 or \$1,000,000,000: “High income… along with 55.7% of people in United States”.

16. Karen Susan says:

If you have money for shelter, medical care, food and personal needs, you are better off than most of the world’s population. That’s the point of this article.

17. Jesse Robert says:

I don’t think all the countries are as poor as people think. Don’t forget that Pew Research compares incomes in Third World countries with those from Western countries. Compared to the Western countries, costs might be less in Third World countries. So they don’t a high income, which would be low for the Western World.

• Rakesh Kochhar says:

The estimates are adjusted for differences in the prices of goods and services across countries (by using purchasing power parities instead of exchange rates for conversions).

18. Ricardo Belchior says:

I just cant belive that you fortgot to put Portugal in Country List!!!
Shame on You!!

• Jg says:

You live in Portugal. You obviously have internet access. Assume you are in the HIGH bracket.

19. Malin says:

Sweden isnt even on the list to choose from. Really?

• C Man says:

Really? You live in Sweden, you dont need a calculator, you already are in the high income people group

20. amir fatemian says:

It seems to work accurately for my country Iran. Lots of thanks

21. Ryan Valenti says:

Is there a reason for leaving out New Zealand, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and others? We’re not all as rich as the Swiss or the Norwegian and Luxembourg is the most pointless country you do have. I understand many poorer countries were left out as you may have no data on them. I’m not saying that there aren’t data any just that you don’t think it worth the effort of looking for them.
And how come I rank as High Income on 45000 € as does someone on 2000000000 €? It’s really not as if me and the billionaire have lifestyles or patterns of behavior at all similar. I can’t consume all that many luxury goods, real estate and private jets for one (well, 3) nor would I wish to. Get a grip go back and re-calibrate this “calculator”. Or better yet, scrap it.

• Jg says:

You clearly don’t understand the article and the calculator. It does not calculate your bracket relative to others in your country but vs the entire world. He’ll, even if you made 30000€ you probably would be in the high bracket. There are billions who survive on much less.

• Kyung Suk says:

Billions are still surviving on much less. It makes me think again and thank for what I have.

• John V says:

But there cost of living is also much less.

22. Stevia Lesher says:

Surely you have not deducted income/property/gas tax from gross income to calculate on what ladder rung we stand ?? ??

23. Zoltan says:

You should explicitly state whether you expect net or gross salary

24. zeeta decologne says:

You missed New Zealand off the list of countries.

25. Maria Roca says:

Portugal is not included in your list of countries!! !!

26. Martina Thomasberger says:

I would have liked to take the survey, but unfortunately my country – Austria – is not on the list. Which is curious, because its surrounding countries are: Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Slowak Republic, Czech Republic, Germany – hold it: where is Switzerland? (I forgive you for forgetting Liechtenstein, almost everybody does.)

I am middle-income, yet half of my pay goes to housing. That’s America for you.

28. fernando says:

Switzerland is not in the List

29. Where is SINGAPORE?????

30. Christina says:

I think everyone is missing the point. After paying bills you may not have a lot of discretionary funds left over, but that is not what this calculator is measuring. If we are paying for a home, an education, food, health care, etc., we are fortunate to be spending money on those things.

I am in the low middle income bracket, but I know, because I live in a first world country, I have so much for which to be grateful. I may not have extra money after necessities are paid for but I am lucky to be able to provide for my families basic needs.

Even though, by my country’s standards, I may not have much, compared to most people on the world and throughout time, I am extremely rich. Remembering that helps me keep things in perspective and appreciate what I have.

Remember, this calculator is comparing WORLD WIDE incomes and buying power.

• Joe Williams says:

Good perspective

• Karen says:

Thank you Christina. I am on disability and work a part-time job. I don’t have much extra money. But I live very well especially when using the global scale. It is vital to my spiritual health that I recognize and appreciate the gifts I have received and that I share my abundance.

31. choo says:

Where is Hong Kong? I can’t believe the country list missed lots of countries…

32. boomerexpat says:

Doesn’t work. I plugged in 950 USD a month for 1 person and it came out -upper middle income. No way.

33. ===Dan says:

For some time I’ve been wondering what dollar income per person in USD qualifies for “the [top] one percent” worldwide. Is that figure available? and the top 0.1 percent?

34. Justaguy says:

Nothing new, My wife and I know we are blessed to be making what we make compared to a large portion of the rest of world. Something we attempt to teach our children every day.

35. Rachel says:

Calculator does not let you fill in income or # of people in household–I see from the comments that others have been able to use it…has it been disabled?

36. John Lawless says:

It sure doesn’t feel like it………….

37. Well, being “high” income in Argentina, with the level of inflation we have does not guarantee enjoying luxuries, rather being able to live without necessities. Which is quite a lot if one thinks about how little other people have…

38. I suppose I would actually feel “high income” if I weren’t being taxed at 30% and living in NYC. I feel low income 🙁

• Annmarie says:

I agree 100% with you. This calculator needs to allow you to narrow it down to city/state/zip code if they really want to reflect the economic reality U.S. residents are living. My housing costs alone are over 50% of my full time pay. I have to work a part-time job to live decently. Welcome to Long Island where you can make \$88,000 a year and still struggle. Disgraceful taxation on all levels in this country…

• John Sowa says:

Only middle-income people pay 30% in taxes. The 400 wealthiest families in the USA pay only 17%. During WW II, the Truman administration, and the Eisenhower administration, the top IRS tax rate was 90%. Kennedy reduced the top rate to 65%.

Republicans take pride in the fact that Eisenhower paid off the huge debt from World War II in just 10 years. But they never mention the fact that the 90% tax rate was a big help. Tax shelters in those days weren’t as good (or evil) as the ones that the wealthy use today.

The late 1940s to the early 1970s was the period of greatest prosperity that the USA ever had — the American Dream was alive and well. State universities had little or no tuition, and college students could graduate without any debt. Many state hospitals (in Pennsylvania, for example) would also accept long-term elderly patients with their social-security checks as the only payment.

Today, the Scandinavian countries have the richest, happiest, healthiest, and best educated population in the world. Guess why? After WW II, they adopted the policies of the most prosperous country at the time — the USA.

Conservatives who want to go back to the good-old days should read history.

Where is UAE- Dubai ?

40. no man's land says:

I’m pretty sure New Zealand is a country? If so maybe it should be in the list of countries.

41. Wanderer says:

Your calculator is brilliant. We should send it to the Congress and let them use it to calculate what minimum wage, welfare and food stamps should be in the US.

42. Helvetica says:

Switzerland is not listed in the drop down menu on the calculator.

43. chris says:

I’m pretty sure of the existence of a country named Switzerland…

44. Eks says:

It doesn’t work in Thailand. The calculator is overestimated. It shows I’m a high income but actually, in my opinion, I’m just a middle or upper-middle income in 2011.

45. M says:

Neither is SWEDEN available in the Calculator…

46. Joan says:

Singapore is not available. This is not complete.

47. Catherine says:

Why did you skip Japan in the calculator?

48. Elaine says:

What happened to the last “calculate”? I clicked several times but nothing happened.

49. bob says:

I’d like to see a similar calculation that takes net worth into consideration.

50. Frank says:

You people are crazy, if I’m middle class, then our society should be ashamed of themselves!!! Barely making a living is not middle class!!! Our economy is a joke!!! Hopefully, when our economy picks up and the rich get richer, they may pass some of their wealth to their workers!!!

51. R H Stacey says:

US income \$44735 in retirement income. In Canadian dollars (.71 us presently) that is the equivalent of \$63,006 CDN putting us into the upper-middle income there, while we are in the middle class here. Interesting…. considering their housing costs, I would have thought we would be poverty class there.

52. Stanley says:

Interesting report and not surprising for us given other reputable reports. The comparison from earlier years seems to give more credibility to Piketty and other economists about the decline of the middle class in the US and also worldwise. Some politicians are using such information to their advantage. What will happen to remedy the situation…who knows really.

53. John V says:

How is 45,000 per year for a family of 3 “Upper middle class”? Are you guys trying to define the Median world income levels as “middle class”?
Middle class should be defined based on an individual’s Standard of Living, in the COUNTRY they live in, not where they site in the world’s (or country’s) income distribution!

54. Blake says:

My wife and I live on 50k/yr, including my SS. We have no mortgage, pay cash for all large items, including good used cars, pay off ccards each month, and still eat out, vacate, contribute to IRA’s. Our house has 3br, 2bath, all season sunroom.

We live quite well by living quite responsibility. We are preparing to buy a diamond ring and piano for cash.

The average American has no sympathy from us!

55. Eric L says:

where is Singapore in the list of countries?

56. Weird that Nepal is there and New Zealand isn’t

57. Anonymous says:

I am a widowed senior, age 82, and the one expense that is going higher every year is food.
There is no adjustment for this expense in the CPU and that is the one thing it is hard to economize on. You can cut on your gasoline expense, you cannot watch your utilities and cut line phone line, watch your heating bill (by wearing extra sweaters in winter) and turn off your TV when not in use. But drugs I need are going up and so is food. I cannot go back to work as I am disabled. Any suggestions?

58. Barry Westfall says:

My metro area in Illinois is larger than all but two of those listed. But it was not listed as a choice. It is the 2nd largest metro area entirely within the state. Why was it not listed? Relatives who live in a rural part of the state have a far higher living standard because they do not have the costs of living in a metro area of 375,000.

59. Anonymous says:

I cannot believe I am High Class? Remember in many international markets the “perks” are half their income and in the US you get nothing but hard aches, stress, confrontational managers and racist-like managers.

60. Anonymous says:

But this doesn’t count my school loans.