Shedding light on the Gulf's middle class :: McKinsey Quarterly
Zogby has done a poll of middle class nationals in three GCC states: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE. Here's the whole thing.
In each of the states we surveyed, about two-thirds of the respondents described themselves as members of the middle class. Experi-ence shows that self-selection tends to inflate its size, since many people in the upper and lower tiers are prone to say that they are middle class. Indeed, the salary range of those so describing themselves covers a wide range: from 5,000 dirham (about $1,350) to 30,000 dirham a month in the UAE, for example, with the mean in the range of 10,000 dirham to 20,000 dirham.
They were remarkably forthcoming, and their answers enabled us to start defining the characteristics of the region’s social classes. Whether employed in the public or private sectors, those who described themselves as middle class were largely salaried employees. Except for people in the military, most would fit the Western description of white-collar workers: professionals, teachers, health care and office workers, and salespeople, for example.
Looking to the future, the middle class in each state shows confidence, but Saudis are nearly twice as likely as Bahrainis or Emiratis to expect that they will be better off in the next four years. Indeed, respondents in Bahrain and the UAE express a much higher degree of uncertainty across social classes: for instance, 61 percent and 34 percent of middle-class respondents in the UAE and Bahrain, respectively, say that they aren’t sure if they will be better off four years from now (Exhibit 3).