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Middle Class Size in the Past, Present, and Future: A Description of Trends in Asia

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Abstract

This paper describes the size of the middle class in developing Asia across countries and over time. Based on an absolute measure of the middle class of $2–$20 (2005 purchasing power parity United States dollars), it finds that between 1990 and 2008, the size of the middle class in developing Asia has grown dramatically in percentage share, absolute size, and purchasing power. However, there are large variations in the size and growth of the middle class across countries, with the primary growth of the middle class largely driven by the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Considerably smaller growth has occurred in many countries including Nepal and Sri Lanka. Still, a large portion of the middle class residing in the $2–$4 range are extremely vulnerable, and many of the poor in Asia remain in the PRC and India. This suggests that it may be good for policymakers to not only focus on countries that have lagged behind in terms of growth of the middle class, but that it should also concern itself with focusing on countries where there is still considerable room to build, and bolster the absolute size of the middle class in Asia.

Suggested Citation

  • Chun, Natalie, 2010. "Middle Class Size in the Past, Present, and Future: A Description of Trends in Asia," ADB Economics Working Paper Series 217, Asian Development Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:adbewp:0217
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kapsos, Steven. & Bourmpoula, Evangelia., 2013. "Employment and economic class in the developing world," ILO Working Papers 994855123402676, International Labour Organization.
    2. CAI, Fang & DU, Yang, 2011. "Wage increases, wage convergence, and the Lewis turning point in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 601-610.
    3. repec:ilo:ilowps:482296 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Abebe Shimeles & Mthuli Ncube, 2015. "The Making of the Middle-Class in Africa: Evidence from DHS Data," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(2), pages 178-193, February.
    5. Ncube, Mthuli & Shimeles, Abebe, 2013. "The Making of Middle Class in Africa: Evidence from DHS Data," IZA Discussion Papers 7352, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Huynh, Phu. & Kapsos, Steven., 2013. "Economic class and labour market inclusion poor and middle class workers in developing Asia and the Pacific," ILO Working Papers 994822963402676, International Labour Organization.
    7. Radhouane FILALI & Anis BOUABID, 2016. "Profils Et Déterminants Socioéconomiques De La Classe Moyenne En Tunisie," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 44, pages 79-101.
    8. repec:ilo:ilowps:485512 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Dang,Hai-Anh H. & Ianchovichina,Elena & Dang,Hai-Anh H. & Ianchovichina,Elena, 2016. "Welfare dynamics with synthetic panels : the case of the Arab world in transition," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7595, The World Bank.
    10. Andy Sumner, 2012. "The Buoyant Billions: How “Middle Class” Are the New Middle Classes in Developing Countries? (And Why Does It Matter?)," Working Papers 309, Center for Global Development.
    11. Durr-e-Nayab, 2011. "Estimating the Middle Class in Pakistan," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 50(1), pages 1-28.
    12. Abu-Ismail Khalid & Sarang Niranjan, 2015. "Rethinking the Measurement of the Middle Class: Evidence from Egypt," WIDER Working Paper Series 023, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    13. Andy Sumner, 2012. "The Buoyant Billions: How “Middle Class†Are the New Middle Classes in Developing Countries? (And Why Does It Matter?)," Working Papers id:5169, eSocialSciences.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    inclusive growth; developing Asia; middle class;

    JEL classification:

    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General

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