|Source: Credit Suisse Wealth Databook 2015|
Average ($4,459) and median ($2,216) wealth figures for Pakistani middle class adults are higher than average ($4,352) and median ($868) wealth figures for their Indian middle class counterparts. It's a consequence of lower income wealth inequality in Pakistan compared to its neighbor. For comparison, only 1.1% of Bangladesh adult population qualify as middle class. Their average wealth is $2,201 and median wealth $1,102 per adult.
|Pakistan Wealth Source: Global Wealth Report 2015 Via Express Tribune|
Credit Suisse said Pakistan's middle class is the 18th largest and India's 8th largest in the world. The report says 14% of world adults qualify as middle class in 2015 and they own 32% of the world's wealth. 6.7 million Pakistani adults make up 0.9% of the world's middle-class adult population. China tops the list with 108.7 million, followed by the United States 91.8 million and Japan 62 million.
Other studies based on income criteria of $2 or more per day put Pakistan's middle class at 55% of the population. A 2010 ADB report titled "Asia's Emerging Middle Class: Past, Present and Future" report put Pakistan's middle class growth from 1990 to 2008 at 36.5%, much faster than India's 12.5% growth in the same period. Other reports have indicated Pakistan's median per capita income is higher than both India's and Bangladesh's.
Even though Pakistan's GDP growth has been relatively low compared to India and Bangladesh in recent years, the country's middle class has continued to grow rapidly. It's explained as follows: It's not the overall GDP growth and average per capita income and wealth increases but the median per capita income and wealth growth that tells you how the GDP gains are shared among the population.
Data shows that economic gains in Pakistan are shared better than India and Bangladesh because of lower inequality. Income poverty rate (those below $1.25 per capita per day) in India is 33% and Bangladesh 43% versus 13% in Pakistan, according to WB data on povcalNet. Gini Index for India is 33, Pakistan 29 and Bangladesh 32, indicating that Pakistan has lower inequality.
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