By 2020, half of the world’s population is expected to fall in the global middle class, according to data from the Brookings Institution. There’s no exact definition of what it means to be middle class, but Brookings defined it as earning enough money in your part of the world to be able to afford the basics of food, clothing and shelter and then having some money left over to spend how you want.

The definition of the global middle class here is a broad generalization and is not meant to determine individual affordability. Measures like this are useful because they provide a single metric to track global trends over time, across both developed and developing economies.

For a more specific look at what it means to be middle class in the United States, try our U.S. middle-class calculator.

About this calculator

The data used in this calculator was provided by the Brookings Institution from its analysis of the global middle class, covering 97 percent of the world’s population. All data is for 2016. Brookings uses a per-person, per-day income threshold of between 11 and 110 U.S. dollars to determine the global middle class. The number of people in the global middle class in this calculator differs from the number in the Brookings report because of additional adjustments to the data made in the report. More about Brookings’s methodology is available at the end of its report.

In three countries (China, India and Indonesia), the rural and urban regions of those countries are listed and calculated separately, to more accurately capture the disparities between rural and urban wealth in those nations.

Only income deciles are available at the country level, so user-entered income is rounded up or down to the nearest decile mean.

Income is also adjusted for relative purchasing power in the country selected using the World Bank’s most recently available PPP conversion factors.


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