|Source: World Bank
Median income is the amount that divides the income distribution into two equal groups, half having income above that amount, and half having income below that amount. Mean income (average) is the amount obtained by dividing the total aggregate income of a country by the number of people in that country. A country's median income is a better indicator than the average income to gauge how a population is faring economically.
Median income also helps assess the size of the middle class in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh based on the definition used by Asian Development Bank and World Bank. Both of these institutions define middle class as those earning $2 or more per capita per day in terms of 2005 PPP US$.
Pakistan median income of $73.26 per month translates into $2.44 per day, higher than $2 per day income level used by ADB and WB to define middle class. It means that more than 50% of Pakistanis are in middle class. India's $60.48 per month puts 50% of Indians in middle class while Bangladesh's $51.67 means fewer than 50% of Bangladeshis are in middle class.
|Source: Asian Development Bank 2010
A 2010 Asian Development Bank's report titled "Asia's Emerging Middle Class: Past,. Present, And Future" reported Pakistan's middle class size as 40.12% of the country's population as of 2005. It also estimated Bangladesh's middle class at 20.25% and India's at 25.05% of their total populations.
|Source: Institute of Business Administration Karachi Pakistan
More recently, research conducted by Dr. Jawaid Abdul Ghani of Karachi School of Business and Leadership (KSBL) concluded that Pakistan's middle class rose to 55% of the country's population in 2010.
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 increases but the median per capita income 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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