The middle class get a lot of attention, particularly in
developed economies. They are held up frequently as the
engine of growth, the bastion of social values and the
arbiter of elections. And in many countries, the
commentary increasingly paints the picture of an
embattled and shrinking middle class, fighting against a
rising tide of inequality.
Within much of the developed world, parts of this picture
are justified and the last decade has seen income
disparities increase in a range of places. But globally, the
opposite is true. In fact, as we show here, we are in the
middle of an unprecedented explosion in what might be
considered a ‘world middle class’, which we define as
those with incomes between $6,000 and $30,000 in PPP
terms. And global income distribution is getting narrower,
not wider.
This story of what we call the ‘Expanding Middle’ is set
to continue, if not accelerate, over the next two decades
and is likely to be critical to how the world is changing.

Publish Date:
Goldman Sachs

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