The television series “Upstairs Downstairs” was wildly popular in the 1970s. It depicts lives of the upper and lower classes in London around 1920. We took the concept and quantified where Upstairs and Downstairs people live today. Data are from C-GIDD.
We define Upstairs as lower middle class and above. This roughly corresponds to households that buy branded consumer goods. We define Downstairs as lower class and below. It is unlikely, but not impossible, to find branded consumer goods in such household.
In 1974, 17% of the world’s population lived Upstairs. In 2014 it is 28%; in 2034 it will be 56%.
Below are the countries with the largest Upstairs Downstairs populations in 2014. Only 57% of Upstairs live in affluent countries. This explains why companies are working so hard to grow in emerging countries.
Finally, the mix of Upstairs and Downstairs is shown in the map. Green still represents Upstairs, orange Downstairs. If the green bubble is larger than the orange, it is one of 83 Upstairs-heavy countries. If orange is larger than green, it is one of 129 Downstairs-heavy countries.
Mexico, Romania and Bulgaria, being evenly split, do not graph well on the map: they have equally sized green and orange bubbles.
CLICK ON THE MAP FOR A BETTER VIEW
Note that the area (not the diameter) of the bubbles is proportional to Upstairs Downstairs population.