Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

A Global Middle Class Is More Promise than Reality


Updated August 13, 2015: This new edition includes corrected estimates for Iceland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Taiwan, and some related aggregated data.

Alwang, Jeffrey, Paul B. Siegel and Steen L. Jorgensen. 2001. “Vulnerability: A View from Different Disciplines.” Washington, D.C.: World Bank, June.

Baicker, Katherine and Amitabh Chandra. 2005. “The Labor Market Effects of Rising Health Insurance Premiums.” Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, February.

Basu, Sudip Ranjan. 2009. “Comparing China and India: Is the Dividend of Economic Reforms Polarized?” The European Journal of Comparative Economics.

Birdsall, Nancy. 2010. “The (Indispensable) Middle Class in Developing Countries; or, the Rich and the Rest, not the Poor and the Rest.” Washington, D.C.: Center for Global Development, March.

Birdsall, Nancy. 2012. “Is India’s Middle Class Big Enough For …?” Washington, D.C.: Center for Global Development, November.

Birdsall, Nancy. 2015. “Does the Rise of the Middle Class Lock in Good Government in the Developing World?” Washington, D.C.: Center for Global Development, April.

Birdsall, Nancy, Nora Lustig and Christian J. Meyer. 2013. “The Strugglers: The New Poor in Latin America?” Washington, D.C.: Center for Global Development, August.

Bosworth, Barry, and Susan M. Collins. 2007. “Accounting for Growth: Comparing China and India.” Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, February.

Bourguignon, Francois, and Christian Morrisson. 2002. “Inequality Among World Citizens: 1820-1992.” American Economic Review, September.

Chandy, Laurence, and Homi Kharas. 2014. “What Do New Price Data Mean for the Goal of Ending Extreme Poverty?” Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, Up Front, May.

Chen, Shaohua, and Martin Ravallion. 2004. “How Have the World’s Poorest Fared Since the Early 1980s?” Washington, D.C.: World Bank, June.

Chen, Shaohua, and Martin Ravallion. 2010. “The Developing World Is Poorer than We Thought, but No Less Successful in the Fight Against Poverty.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics, November.

Cho, Yoonyoung, and Bienvenue N. Tien. 2014. “Sub-Saharan Africa’s Recent Growth Spurt: An Analysis of the Sources of Growth.” Washington, D.C.: World Bank, May.

Cingano, Federico. 2014. “Trends in Income Inequality and its Impact on Economic Growth.” Paris, France: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, December.

Congressional Budget Office. 2011. “Trends in the Distribution of Household Income Between 1979 and 2007.” Washington, D.C., October.

Court, David, and Laxman Narasimhan. 2010. “Capturing the World’s Emerging Middle Class.” McKinsey Quarterly, July.

Dabla-Norris, Era, Kalpana Kochhar, Nujin Suphaphiphat, Frantisek Ricka and Evridiki Tsounta. 2015. “Causes and Consequences of Income Inequality: A Global Perspective.” Washington, D.C.: International Monetary Fund, June.

Dadush, Uri, and William Shaw. 2011. “Juggernaut: How Emerging Markets Are Reshaping Globalization.” Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Dang, Hai-Anh H., and Peter F. Lanjouw. 2014. “Welfare Dynamics Measurement: Two Definitions of a Vulnerability Line and their Empirical Application.” Washington, D.C.: World Bank, June.

Deaton, Angus. 2003. “Measuring Poverty in a Growing World (or Measuring Growth in a Poor World).” Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, July.

Deaton, Angus, and Bettina Aten. 2014. “Trying to Understand the PPPs in ICP2011: Why Are the Results so Different?” Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, June.

Dobbs, Richard, Jaana Remes, James Manyika, Charles Roxburgh, Sven Smit and Fabian Schaer. 2012. “Urban World: Cities and the Rise of the Consuming Class.” McKinsey & Company, June.

Dykstra, Sarah, Benjamin Dykstra and Justin Sandefur. 2014. “We Just Ran Twenty-Three Million Queries of the World Bank’s Website.” Washington, D.C.: Center for Global Development, April.

Elsby, Michael W. L., Bart Hobijn, and Aysegul Sahin. 2013. “The Decline of the U.S. Labor Share.” Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution.

Ferreira, Francisco H.G., Julian Messina, Jamele Rigolini, Luis-Felipe Lopez-Calva, Maria Ana Lugo and Renos Vakis. 2012. “Economic Mobility and the Rise of the Latin American Middle Class.” Washington, D.C.: World Bank, November.

Financial Times. 2014. “World Bank Eyes Biggest Global Poverty Line Increase in Decades.” London, U.K.: May.

Fukuyama, Francis. 2011. “Is There a Proper Sequence in Democratic Transitions?” Current History, November.

Government of India Planning Commission. 2014. “Report of the Expert Group to Review the Methodology for Measurement of Poverty.” June.

Hout, Michael. 2007. “How Class Works in Popular Conception: Most Americans Identify with the Class Their Income, Occupation, and Education Implies for Them.” Berkeley, CA: Survey Research Center, February.

International Monetary Fund. 2014. “World Economic Outlook: Legacies, Clouds, Uncertainties.” Washington, D.C.: October.

International Monetary Fund. 2015. “Global Prospects and Policy Challenges.” G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting, Istanbul, Turkey, February 9-10.

Jaumotte, Florence. 2012. “Is Labor Compensation Still Falling in Advanced Economies?” IMF Survey Magazine, May.

Kharas, Homi. 2010. “The Emerging Middle Class in Developing Countries.” Paris, France: OECD Development Centre, January.

Lakner, Christoph, and Branko Milanovic. 2013. “Global Income Distribution: From the Fall of the Berlin Wall to the Great Recession.” Washington, D.C: World Bank, December.

Leke, Acha, Susan Lund, Charles Roxburgh and Arend van Wamelen. 2010. “What’s Driving Africa’s Growth.” McKinsey & Company, June.

Lipset, Seymour Martin. 1959. “Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy.” American Political Science Review, March.

Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Database, (multiple countries; October 2014 to April 2015). Luxembourg: LIS.

Milanovic, Branko. 1999. “True World Income Distribution, 1988 and 1993: First Calculations, Based on Household Surveys Alone.” Washington, D.C.: World Bank, November.

Milanovic, Branko. 2011. The Haves and the Have-Nots. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Milanovic, Branko. 2014. “For Whom the Wall Fell? A Balance-Sheet of Transition to Capitalism.” Global Inequality, November.

Milanovic, Branko, and Shlomo Yitzhaki. 2002. “Decomposing World Income Distribution: Does the World Have a Middle Class?” Review of Income and Wealth, June.

Murtin, Fabrice, and Romain Wacziarg. 2014. “The Democratic Transition.” Journal of Economic Growth, June.

Orshansky, Mollie. 1965. “Counting the Poor: Another Look at the Poverty Profile.” Social Security Bulletin, January.

Ostry, Jonathan D., Andrew Berg and Charalambos G. Tsangarides. 2014. “Redistribution, Inequality, and Growth.” Washington, D.C.: International Monetary Fund, February.

Pew Research Center. 2012. “The Lost Decade of the Middle Class.” Washington, D.C.: August.

Ravallion, Martin, Shaohua Chen and Prem Sangraula. 2009. “Dollar a Day Revisited.” Washington, D.C.: World Bank, June.

Savage, Mike, Fiona Devine, Niall Cunningham, Mark Taylor, Yaojun Li, Johs. Hjellbrekke, Brigitte Le Roux, Sam Friedman and Andrew Miles. 2013. “A New Model of Social Class: Findings from the BBC’s Great British Class Survey Experiment.” Sociology, April.

Sosa, Sebastian, and Evridiki Tsounta. 2013. “A Bumpy Road Ahead.” Finance & Development, September.

Summers, Lawrence H., and Ed Balls. 2015. “Report of the Commission on Inclusive Prosperity.” Washington, D.C.: Center for American Progress, January.

U.S. Census Bureau. “Historical Income Tables: Households.” Washington, D.C.

U.S. Census Bureau. “Poverty Thresholds for 2011 by Size of Family and Number of Related Children Under 18 Years.”

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. 2011. “Official USDA Food Plans: Cost of Food at Home at Four Levels, U.S. Average, July 2011.” Alexandria, VA: August.

U.S. National Intelligence Council. 2012. “Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds.” Washington, D.C., December.

Wilson, Dominic, and Raluca Dragusanu. 2008. “The Expanding Middle: The Exploding World Middle Class and Falling Global Inequality.” New York, NY: Goldman Sachs, July.

Wignaraja, Ganeshan. 2011. “Economic Reforms, Regionalism, and Exports: Comparing China and India.” Honolulu: East-West Center.

World Bank. 2007. “Global Economic Prospects: Managing the Next Wave of Globalization.” Washington, D.C.

World Bank. 2008. “Global Purchasing Power Parities and Real Expenditures: 2005 International Comparison Program.” Washington, D.C.

World Bank. 2010. “Zambia: Accelerating and Sharing Growth through Improved Competitiveness.” Washington, D.C., October.

World Bank, 2014a. “Purchasing Power Parities and Real Expenditures of World Economies: Summary of Results and Findings of the 2011 International Comparison Program.” Washington, D.C.

World Bank, 2014b. “Kenya Economic Update: Take-off Delayed?” Washington, D.C., June.

World Bank. 2015. “A Measured Approach to Ending Poverty and Boosting Shared Prosperity: Concepts, Data, and the Twin Goals.” Policy Research Report, Washington, D.C.

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