How big is the Pakistani middle class?

Country/area: Pakistan

Organisation: Profit magazine by Pakistan Today

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 19 Sep 2020

Credit: Farooq Tirmizi

Project description:

The Government of Pakistan does not provide an official definition of the “middle class” and therefore there are no reliable estimates of the size of this economic class in the country. This data-driven project attempted to estimate the size of Pakistan’s middle class and discuss how this economic group might be affected by government policies.

Impact reached:

The project brought a determination of the size of Pakistan’s middle class on the record and can be cited in journalism, policy, and research work in the future.

Techniques/technologies used:

We used data sets from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. These raw microdata sets were from the Household Integrated Economic Survey (1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2019), the Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement surveys (2009, 2013), and the Pakistan Labour Force Survey (2018). We calculated the size of the labour force as a percentage of the total population, using data from the population census and the Labour Force Surveys. The analysis was conducted on Microsoft Excel.

What was the hardest part of this project?

Accounting for missing data in official statistics. We tried to develop a robust methodology to overcome this issue.

What can others learn from this project?

There are gaps in our understanding of economic life in Pakistan even though economic policies are constantly drafted and amended to help citizens. Journalists can dive deep into the statistics available to plug these gaps and contextualise the needs and impact of policy.

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