The COVID-19 pandemic is having a deep effect on living standards around the world. A recent Pew Research Center analysis found that the global middle class encompassed 54 million fewer people in 2020 than the number projected prior to the onset of the pandemic. Meanwhile, the number of poor is estimated to have been 131 million higher because of the economic downturn.
In percentage terms, 17% of the global population could be considered middle income in 2020. Most people were either low income (51%) or poor (10%), while nearly 15% lived at an upper-middle-income standard and 7% were high income.
See where you fit
Start by entering your household’s income in 2020 in the currency used where you live (our calculator covers 189 countries and territories). 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 in purchasing power parity (PPP) dollars – exchange rates adjusted for differences in the prices of goods and services across countries – and reports where you might have stood in the global income distribution in 2020. It also reports the income distribution of the population in your geographical region. For example, if you live in India, the calculator will show your placement in the global income distribution in 2020 and the distribution by income of the population in South Asia.
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 about $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 purchasing power parity dollars.
How does the calculator work?
The household income you enter is converted to daily income per person in your household. Then, income for 2020 is adjusted for inflation from 2011 to 2020 using your country or territory’s consumer price index. The inflation adjustment is needed to convert incomes from local currencies to 2011 purchasing power parity dollars. Because PPPs contain an adjustment for differences in the prices of goods and services across countries and territories, this step makes your income comparable with that of people who live elsewhere. Note that despite the restatement of incomes into 2011 dollars, the calculator reports your placement in the global income distribution in 2020.
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 189 countries and territories. Also, sufficient data was not available to estimate the income distribution in each country in 2020. An earlier Pew Research Center analysis contains estimates of the income distributions in 111 countries and territories in 2011.
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.
Note: This post and calculator are updates of an interactive originally published July 16, 2015. The data used in the previous version can be found here.