New estimates of India’s middle class

Type Report
Title New estimates of India’s middle class
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
Publisher Center for Global Development
As part of the Understanding India initiative at the Center for Global Development, we are issuing this technical note, originally prepared as background for our launch event. Increasingly, the development challenges nations around the world face are centered on issues of state capacity in a democratic context. In India, the world’s largest democracy and a rapidly growing economy, the emerging middle class is often seen as an indispensable force for a more accountable and transparent government. This technical note provides new estimates for the size of India’s middle class – defined as having reasonable economic security in today’s globalized world. Based on data from India’s 2009/2010 National Sample Survey, Christian Meyer and Nancy Birdsall estimate India’s
middle class to constitute around 70 million people, or less than 10 percent of the population – much less than often assumed.

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