by Aaron Earls
As a percentage of population, the global poor declined by almost half from 2001-2011, falling from 29 to 15 percent. However, most barely made it out, as the majority of the world is still considered low income, according to analysis from Pew Research.
The 15 percent of the world’s population living on $2 or less daily marks a historic reduction in global poverty. When you include those who are low income, however, 69 percent of the world still live on less than $10 a day. And in most countries, the majority of those leaving poverty behind only took a modest step up into low income.
Outside of the decline among the poor, all other income groups grew in the first decade of the 21st century. Middle income almost doubled from 7 to 13 percent. Meaning, in the 111 countries surveyed, some 385 million more people were middle income in 2011 compared to 2001. The upper middle and high income saw modest gains.
In America, the poverty line for a family of four is slightly more than $23,000—that would be in the upper half of global middle income. Much of the global middle class would be officially poor in the U.S. More than half (56 percent) of Americans were in the world’s high income group.
Globally, only 16 percent live on $20 or more a day, and most of these lived in economically advanced countries in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. In 2001, 91 percent of the world’s high income people (annual household incomes of $73,000 or more) lived in North America and Europe; in 2011, the share was 87 percent.
There is growth, however, in the middle-income population in Africa, South America and the Asia and South Pacific region. In 2011, the majority (51 percent) of the global middle-income population lived in the latter—up from 31 percent in 2001.
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AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.