July 8, 2015

How Many Live on How Much?

Share of global population that lives on a given level of income or consumption
Click on an income category or use arrows below for more information.
poor
low
income
middle
income
upper-middle income
high
income
>$50
2001 2011 $1 2 3 4 5 $10 $20 DAILY PER PERSON $50 0 5 10 15 20 25%
In 2001, 29% of the global population was poor, living on $2 or less daily. The share plunged to 15% by 2011, and the number in poverty fell from 1.6 billion to 949 million. Nearly 700 million people stepped out of poverty from 2001 to 2011, with China and India combining to lift about 500 million.
The share of the global population that is low income (living on $2.01-10 daily) rose from 50% in 2001 to 56% in 2011 as most people who left poverty turned low-income. The global low-income population increased from 2.7 billion to 3.4 billion, by about the same amount as the decrease in number of poor.
The middle-income population (people living on $10.01-20 daily) is still a small part of the global population. But its share nearly doubled from 7% in 2001 to 13% in 2011, and its size increased from 399 million to 784 million. In China alone, more than 200 million attained middle-income status in the decade.
Only 9% of people globally were upper-middle income in 2011, living on $20.01-50 daily. The share grew from 7% in 2001 as the population increased from 408 million to 584 million. Nearly two-thirds of upper-middle income people lived in North America and Europe in 2011, down from three-fourths in 2001. The share living in Asia and the South Pacific increased.
The share of high-income people in the global population is small and almost unchanged. Only 7% lived on more than $50 daily in 2011, compared with 6% in 2001, and the high-income population increased modestly from 339 million to 427 million. About nine-in-ten of the world's high-income people lived in Europe and North America in both 2001 and 2011.
Note: Income (or consumption) is expressed in 2011 purchasing power parities in 2011 prices. The height of the bars shows the share of the global population that lives on $0-1, $1.01-2, and so on. Incomes higher than $50 daily per person are not shown because of the small shares of the global population that live on those budgets. For example, 0.18% of the global population lived on $50.01-51 per day in 2011. The population shares living on higher budgets diminish steadily thereafter.

Source: Pew Research Center analysis of data from the World Bank PovcalNet database (Center for Global Development version available on the Harvard Dataverse Network) and the Luxembourg Income Study database.
Note: Income categories are defined as follows in USD per day per person: poor: less than $2; low income: $2.01-10; middle income: $10.01-$20; upper-middle income: $20.01-50; high income: greater than $50

Source: Pew Research Center analysis of data from the World Bank PovcalNet database (Center for Global Development version available on the Harvard Dataverse Network) and the Luxembourg Income Study database.