Tuesday, January 16, 2018

India in numbers

The top 1 per cent of Indian adults, a rich enclave of 8 million inhabitants making at least $20,000 a year, equates to roughly Hong Kong in terms of population and average income. 

The next 9 per cent is akin to central Europe, in the middle of the global wealth pack.

The next 40 per cent of India’s population neatly mirrors its combined South Asian poor neighbours, Bangladesh and Pakistan. 

The remaining half-billion or so are on a par with the most destitute bits of Africa. 

India has done a relatively okay job at getting those earning below $US2 a day to $US3, but it has not matched other countries’ records in getting those on $US3 a day to earning $US5, those at $US5 a day to $US10, and so on.  If nearly 300 million count as middle class, as HSBC has proclaimed, some of them make about $US3 a day.

 Even for someone in the top 10 per cent of Indian earners, an annual Netflix subscription can cost over a week’s income; the equivalent in America would be around $US3000. Apple ads may plaster Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, but for only one in 10 Indians would the latest iPhone represent less than half a year’s salary. 

The top 1 per cent of earners pocketed nearly a third of all the extra income generated by economic growth between 1980 and 2014.

The well-off are 10 times richer now than in 1980; those at the median have not even doubled their income.

Only 3 per cent of Indians have ever been on a plane; only one in 45 owns a car or truck. Scooters have grown fast, but only after prices tumbled.


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