Data

Share of population below 60% of median income or consumption

World Bank
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What you should know about this indicator

  • This is a measure of relative poverty – it captures the share of people whose income is low by the standards typical in their own country.
  • Depending on the country and year, the data relates to income measured after taxes and benefits, or to consumption, per capita. 'Per capita' means that the income of each household is attributed equally to each member of the household (including children).
  • Non-market sources of income, including food grown by subsistence farmers for their own consumption, are taken into account.
Learn more in the FAQs
Share of population below 60% of median income or consumption World Bank
Percentage of population living in households with an income or consumption per person below 60% of the median
Source
World Bank Poverty and Inequality Platform (2024) – with major processing by Our World in Data
Last updated
March 27, 2024
Next expected update
September 2024
Date range
1963–2023
Unit
%

Frequently Asked Questions

How comparable is the World Bank data on household incomes across time or between countries?

Because there is no global survey of incomes, researchers need to rely on available national surveys. Such surveys are designed with cross-country comparability in mind, but because the surveys reflect the circumstances and priorities of individual countries at the time of the survey, there are some important differences. In collating this survey data the World Bank takes steps to harmonize it where possible, but comparability issues remain.

One important issue is that, whilst in most high-income countries the surveys capture people’s incomes, in poorer countries these surveys tend to capture people’s consumption.

Pooling the data available from different kinds of survey data is unavoidable if we want to get a global picture of poverty or inequality. But it’s important to bear in mind that, depending on the country or year, somewhat different things are being measured.

The two concepts are nevertheless closely related: the income of a household equals their consumption plus any saving, or minus any borrowing or spending out of savings.

One important difference is that, while zero consumption is not a feasible value – people must consume something to survive – a zero income is a feasible value. At the bottom end of the distribution, people’s consumption may be somewhat higher than their income. A common example here is retired people who are using their savings: they may have a very low, or even zero, income, but still have a high level of consumption.

Conversely, at the top end of the distribution, consumption is typically lower than income. The gap rises with income, with households generally saving a higher share of their income the richer they are. For both these reasons, the distribution of consumption is generally more equal than the distribution of income.

There are a number of other ways in which comparability across surveys can be limited. In collating this survey data the World Bank takes a range of steps to harmonize it where possible, but comparability issues remain. The PIP Methodology Handbook provides a good summary of the comparability and data quality issues affecting this data and how it tries to address them.

To help communicate this limitation of the data, the World Bank produces a companion indicator that groups data points within each individual country into ‘spells’. The surveys underlying the data within a given spell for a particular country are considered by World Bank researchers to be more comparable. The breaks between these comparable spells are shown in the chart below for the share of population living in extreme poverty. You can select to see these breaks for any indicator in our Data Explorer of the World Bank data. These spells are also indicated in our data download of the World Bank poverty and inequality data.

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

The Poverty and Inequality Platform (PIP) is an interactive computational tool that offers users quick access to the World Bank’s estimates of poverty, inequality, and shared prosperity. PIP provides a comprehensive view of global, regional, and country-level trends for more than 160 economies around the world.

Retrieved on
July 2, 2024
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
World Bank (2024). Poverty and Inequality Platform (version 20240326_2017 and 20240326_2011) [Data set]. World Bank Group. https://pip.worldbank.org/. Accessed 02 July 2024.

How we process data at Our World in Data

All data and visualizations on Our World in Data rely on data sourced from one or several original data providers. Preparing this original data involves several processing steps. Depending on the data, this can include standardizing country names and world region definitions, converting units, calculating derived indicators such as per capita measures, as well as adding or adapting metadata such as the name or the description given to an indicator.

At the link below you can find a detailed description of the structure of our data pipeline, including links to all the code used to prepare data across Our World in Data.

Read about our data pipeline
Notes on our processing step for this indicator

Measures of relative poverty are not directly available in the World Bank PIP data. To calculate this metric we take the median income or consumption for the country and year, calculate a relative poverty line – in this case {povline} of the median – and then run a specific query on the PIP API to return the share of population below that line.

For most countries in the PIP dataset, estimates relate to either disposable income or consumption, for all available years. A number of countries, however, have a mix of income and consumption data points, with both data types sometimes available for particular years.

In most of our charts, we present the data with some data points dropped in order to present single series for each country. This allows us to make readable visualizations that combine multiple countries and metrics. In choosing which data points to drop, we try to strike a balance between maintaining comparability over time and showing as long a time series as possible. As such, the exact approach varies somewhat across countries.

If you would like to see the original data with all available income and consumption data points shown separately, you can do so in our Poverty Data Explorer. You can also download this data in our complete dataset of the World Bank PIP data.

Reuse this work

  • All data produced by third-party providers and made available by Our World in Data are subject to the license terms from the original providers. Our work would not be possible without the data providers we rely on, so we ask you to always cite them appropriately (see below). This is crucial to allow data providers to continue doing their work, enhancing, maintaining and updating valuable data.
  • All data, visualizations, and code produced by Our World in Data are completely open access under the Creative Commons BY license. You have the permission to use, distribute, and reproduce these in any medium, provided the source and authors are credited.

Citations

How to cite this page

To cite this page overall, including any descriptions, FAQs or explanations of the data authored by Our World in Data, please use the following citation:

“Data Page: Share of population below 60% of median income or consumption”, part of the following publication: Joe Hasell, Max Roser, Esteban Ortiz-Ospina and Pablo Arriagada (2022) - “Poverty”. Data adapted from World Bank Poverty and Inequality Platform. Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/relative-poverty-share-of-people-below-60-of-the-median [online resource]
How to cite this data

In-line citationIf you have limited space (e.g. in data visualizations), you can use this abbreviated in-line citation:

World Bank Poverty and Inequality Platform (2024) – with major processing by Our World in Data

Full citation

World Bank Poverty and Inequality Platform (2024) – with major processing by Our World in Data. “Share of population below 60% of median income or consumption – World Bank” [dataset]. World Bank Poverty and Inequality Platform, “World Bank Poverty and Inequality Platform (PIP) 20240326_2017, 20240326_2011” [original data]. Retrieved July 14, 2024 from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/relative-poverty-share-of-people-below-60-of-the-median