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Explaining the global middle class


Middle class is historically defined as the category between the upper and lower classes in society. While the exact definition of the term is still subjective and can vary greatly, this class tends to have disposable income, stable careers and possessions that make them a stable, productive and vital part of the global social hierarchy. In an article on Investopedia on small business, it was mentioned that those in the middle class are “often employed as professionals, managers and civil servants.”

It was identified that half of the world’s population is now “middle class.” In the article A global tipping point: Half the world is now middle class or wealthier on Brookings, that over half of the population of the entire world was no longer living in poverty. It stated: “our calculations, as of this month, just over 50% of the world’s population, or some 3.8bn people, live in households with enough discretionary expenditure to be considered “middle class” or “rich.” The article also called the current times the “start of a new era of a middle-class majority.”

The middle class also forms the majority of a country’s purchasing power. Their preferences come to dictate the dominant trends. Two-thirds of overall household consumption comes from the middle class, which make them the ideal sweet spot for most businesses to target. In fact, the middle class by now is the most rapidly growing segment of global income distribution. Whatever products are manufactured are done so based on their tastes and preferences.

 A strong middle class is also often categorized as one of the key pillars of overall just and fair governmental stability and progressivism. In the article Why the survival of democracy depends on a strong middle-class in The Globe and Mail, it was mentioned that: “The veracity and very survival of democracy depends on a strong, prosperous middle-class – one that is able to hold government accountable.” If the middle class forms the majority of a country, then that majority can always enact measures and countermeasures that living conditions, laws and jurisdiction remain towards the benefit of the country as a whole, and not just only a few people. 

The global middle class is set to reach 5.3bn people by 2030. This makes it leagues ahead of the rich/elite/upper classes, who will only be $300mn—as well as the poor and vulnerable classes, who are 2.7bn combined. They are a dominant force now, and will continue to dominate on how the world runs in the foreseeable future.

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