Jobs and the Future of Work

This chart shows the rise of the Asian Middle Class

Women wearing masks to avoid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) shop at a cosmetic shop in a department store in Seoul, South Korea, July 2, 2020. Picture taken July 2, 2020. REUTERS/Heo Ran - RC2ALH90HDWU

An estimated 2 billion Asians are members of the middle class in 2020. Image: REUTERS/Heo Ran

Katharina Buchholz
Data Journalist, Statista
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  • It's estimated that 2 billion Asians are members of the middle class in 2020.
  • By 2030, the number could rise to 3.5 billion.
  • The middle class in Europe and the Americas is growing at a much slower rate.

The middle class is often said to be under threat in the U.S., but it is alive and kicking in Asia. According to research by the Brookings Institution, the middle class and Europe and the Americas is only growing slowly and, while membership rises faster in Africa and the Middle East, middle classes remain small there.

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Only in Asia are there middle classes of substantial size which are also growing fast. In 2020, an estimated 2 billion Asians were members of the middle class and that number is set to increase to 3.5 billion by 2030. In comparison, middle class membership in the Americas is expected to hit 647 million in 2020 and 689 million in 2030. While the number of middle class citizens is stagnating in the Americas, the middle classes on the continent are still losing importance. While they are accounting for 17 percent of global middle class size in 2020, that is set to decrease to 13 percent in 2030 due to the fast growth of the Asian middle class. In 2030, two in three members of the middle class will be Asian.

The research defined middle class as household with incomes of $10 to $100 per day and capita, taking into account purchasing power.

Share of the global middle class by region (in percent).
Asia currently has a 54% share of the global middle class. Image: Statista
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