The top 1% 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% are like to central Europe, in the middle of the global wealth pack.
The next 40% of India’s population neatly mirrors its combined South Asian poor neighbors, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
The remaining half-billion or so are on a par with the most destitute bits of Africa.
The top 1% of earners pocketed nearly a third of all the extra income generated by economic growth between 1980 and 2014, according to new research from economists including Thomas Piketty. The well-off are ten times richer now than in 1980; those at the median have not even doubled their income. India has done a good job at getting those earning below $2 a day (at purchasing-power parity) to $3, but it has not matched other countries’ records in getting those on $3 a day to earning $5, those at $5 a day to $10, and so on. Middle earners in countries at India’s stage of development usually take more of the gains from growth. Eight in ten Indians cite inequality as a big problem, on a par with corruption.