The Indian Middle class

(Please note that the figures given in this report have been contested by some people in India itself. So, they may not be accurate. Yet, they are indicative).

India has registered a very impressive growth of its middle class -- a class which was virtually non-existent in 1947 when India became a politically sovereign nation.

At the start of 1999, the size of the middle class was unofficially estimated at 300 million people.

The middle class comprises three sub-classes: the upper middle, middle middle and lower middle.

The upper middle class comprises an estimated 40 million people. They have annual incomes of US$600,000 each in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). (Please note that the calculation of PPP is complicated, but suffice it to say that it is based on what a unit of currency can PURCHASE in one country compared to what the same currency can purchase in another country. It is also known as the "law of one price" that governs the price level of general goods and services between the two countries).

The middle middle class comprises an estimated 150 million people, each with PPP incomes of US$20,000 per year each.

The lower middle class comprises an estimated 110 million people. An estimate of their annual income is not available, but they are mostly the relatively affluent people in the rural areas of India.

The middle classes ON THE WHOLE (i.e. upper middle + middle middle + lower middle classes) is expected to grow by 5 to 10 percent annually.

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