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Top 15 Countries with the Largest Middle Class Population in the World

Since the percentage of the middle class is globally on the rise, we will see here which those top countries with the largest middle class population in the world are.

Middle class represents a class of people which belong in between the working class and the upper class in socio-economic terms. But what is that middle anyway? According to CNN Money, the middle class is characterized by their place in five categories: income, wealth, consumption, aspiration, and demographics. By the income middle class represents the population whose income is in between that 20% of the poorest and 20% of the richest people. Since wealth does not have to be proportional to the income (having in mind savings for example), some characterize middle class being 3/5 of the country’s wealth. Consumption is one of the categories that might show better the position of an individual than income by the amount of spending. Then we have the aspiration, rather a non-directly measurable category, but showing the personal tendencies and possibilities through showing off the socio-economic status. And finally, there is a demographic category takes into account education, age, race together with income as wealth indicators.

Top Countries with the Largest Middle Class Population in the World

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But let’s summarize this: the higher the percentage of country’s middle class population is, the lower the levels of wealth and income inequality are.

Well, this explanation clears up some vagueness, but we still do not have a strict “definition” of a middle class. Well, that is also because it is a matter prone to political, economic, demographic and social changes. It is tightly related to the wealth of the country and its status on a global economic picture. So, having a middle class in less developed and less wealthy country will not be the same (in terms of middle class income by country and global wealth share) as middle class in wealthier countries. On that matter, you might be interested to take a look at the 16 Countries with the Lowest Poverty Rates in the World in 2017 and 25 Most Unequal Countries with the Worst Income Equality (Gini Coefficient) in the World.

We have already noted that the middle class is on the rise, so let’s see some global middle class statistics. In 2016 3.2 billion people were considered to belong to the middle class, with the number increasing each year by 5 million, and it is expanding faster than ever. Some predictions estimate that middle class will become the majority by 2020, which is a thing that has never happened before.

The fastest middle class growth is in Asia, where around 525 million people belong to the middle class. Middle class growth by country can best be seen right in these countries. In general, the percentage of middle class in Asia has risen from 21% to 56% in the period between 1990 and 2008.

But the wealth is not shared equally between middle classes of different countries. Having that on the mind, the matter of the strongest middle class by country can be seen through the share of global wealth by the middle classes. That can nicely be shown on the example of China, which has the largest middle class population but only 2.9% of world wealth income share, compared to some other countries with much less numerous middle class and higher income share, as you will be able to see further down on the list.

For our research of the top countries with the largest middle class population in the world, we have taken the statistics and data from the Global Wealth Report 2015 provided by Credit Suisse, a global leading multinational financial company stationed in Switzerland. Since our goal was to find out the middle class by the size, our main parameter was the amount of middle class adult population by country. The additional parameter we have presented is the share of world wealth by particular middle class, just as a comparison tool in order to get the insight in the wealth of the middle classes in different countries. And in the end, we have added middle class percentage of population by country as a parameter which shows the status of the country concerning poverty and wealth regulation.

Now when we have set our parameters, let’s see which the top countries with the largest middle class population in the world are:

15. Taiwan

Middle class population (million): 11

Share of world wealth: 0.4%

Percentage of country’s population: 59.4%

Taiwan is experiencing the rise in the middle class as many other Asian countries. Although the middle class in Taiwan is huge, most of the people in it actually belong to the “lower middle class” by the amount of monthly earnings.

Top Countries with the Largest Middle Class Population in the World

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14. Brazil

Middle class population (million): 11

Share of world wealth: 0.3%

Percentage of country’s population: 8.1%

The middle class in Brazil is rapidly rising, being among the countries with the largest middle population in the world. That happened due to government’s efforts to reduce poverty by pension reforms and different approach to foreign trades for example. And it seems those have shown to be the good moves for Brazil.

Top Countries with the Largest Middle Class Population in the World

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13. Australia

Middle class population (million): 11

Share of world wealth: 1.0%

Percentage of country’s population: 66.1

Australia has the largest percentage of the middle class, and with 66.1% it is among the top countries with the largest middle class population in the world by percentage. Anyway, it seems that Australia’s middle class is shrinking which is the trend seen in the most of the western society nowadays.

Top Countries with the Largest Middle Class Population in the World

Taras Vyshnya/Shutterstock.com

12. Mexico

Middle class population (million): 13

Share of world wealth: 0.3%

Percentage of country’s population: 17.1%

Status of the middle class in Mexico, the number 12 on our list of top countries with the largest middle class population in the world is on the rise, and about 3.8 million households are expected to switch to middle class status by 2030. That is because of Mexico’s government efforts to make income inequalities lower, and it seems it is on a good way.

Top Countries with the Largest Middle Class Population in the World

Pixabay/Public Domain

11. Canada

Middle class population (million): 13

Share of world wealth: 1.1%

Percentage of country’s population: 47.8%

It seems that Canada’s population is becoming unequal by the wealth and income measures. Canada’s middle class is shrinking despite still being around 50% of the population.

Top Countries with the Largest Middle Class Population in the World

Hannamariah/Shuterstock.com

10. Korea

Middle class population (million): 17

Share of world wealth: 0.7%

Percentage of country’s population: 44.6%

Despite the fact that middle class is on the rise in Asia, that is not the case with Korea. The situation here is getting somewhat worse because the shrinkage was caused by people who fell lower to the lower class: low-income in 2015 represented 14.3% of the population compared to 1990 when it was 7.6%.

Top Countries with the Largest Middle Class Population in the World

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Let’s see what else we have on our list of top countries with the largest middle class population in the world, shall we?

9. Spain

Middle class population (million): 21

Share of world wealth: 0.9%

Percentage of country’s population: 55.8%

Spain’s middle class has been decreasing lately, which is the trend seen in many Western European countries. Although Spain is among countries with the largest middle class population in the world both by population in numbers and in percentage middle class shares are among the lowest in Western Europe.

Top Countries with the Largest Middle Class Population in the World

Valery Bareta/Shutterstock.com

8. France

Middle class population (million): 24

Share of world wealth: 2.0%

Percentage of country’s population: 49.2%

Unlike some other Western European countries, France has seen the rise in middle class in the period from 1991-2010, along with which the increase in disposable household income was noticed as well.

Top Countries with the Largest Middle Class Population in the World

Ioan Panaite/Shutterstock.com

7. India

Middle class population (million): 24

Share of world wealth: 0.3%

Percentage of country’s population: 3.0%

Even though India is one of the countries with the largest middle class population in the world, it represents only 3% of Indian population. The middle class in India is on the rise, as in many other Asian countries. But as we can see, Indian middle class only shares about 0.3% which makes it one of the poorest middle classes.

Top Countries with the Largest Middle Class Population in the World

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6. UK

Middle class population (million): 28

Share of world wealth: 2.5%

Percentage of country’s population: 57.4%

The middle class of UK seems to be among the poorest in Western Europe. Actually, those above the middle class represent about 6% of the country, which as we have seen leaves huge space for other classes, which has led to division among the middle class into several categories, which differ in many ways, and wealth and income as well.

5. Germany

Middle class population (million): 28

Share of world wealth: 1.9%

Percentage of country’s population: 42.4%

As some European countries, Germany also seems to be on a decline and wealth and income differences are becoming larger between the classes. Shares of the middle class in Germany have fallen from 83% in 200 to 78% in 2013.

Top Countries with the Largest Middle Class Population in the World

Pixabay/Public Domain

4. Italy

Middle class population (million): 29

Share of world wealth: 1.9%

Percentage of country’s population: 59.7%

Italy is one of those countries with the largest middle class population in the world, but it seems that it has begun to shrink lately. Italy’s middle class share of the global wealth is 1.9%, and 47.3% of the country’s wealth share.

Top Countries with the Largest Middle Class Population in the World

Pixabay/Public Domain

And now, let’s see the top three on the list of top countries with the largest middle class population in the world.

3. Japan

Middle class population (million): 62

Share of world wealth: 3.9%

Percentage of country’s population: 59.5%

Japan has a significantly high percentage of the middle class being a wealthy country, which is not something that is often seen in the wealthy country in such quantity.

Top Countries with the Largest Middle Class Population in the World

Pixabay/Public Domain

2. USA

Middle class population (million): 92

Share of world wealth: 6.7%

Percentage of country’s population: 37.7%

The middle class of the US is actually getting smaller, but compared to Western Europe, its income is higher, being around $60,000 compared to, say the UK ($40,888) or Spain ($36,000).

Top Countries with the Largest Middle Class Population in the World

Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

1. China

Middle class population (million): 109

Share of world wealth: 2.9%

Percentage of country’s population: 10.7%

With the figure of 109 million people being middle class certainly puts China at the top of the countries with the largest middle class population in the world. While middle class still represent only around 10% of the population, China has experienced a middle class boom lately.

This wraps it up for our list of top countries with the largest middle class population in the world.