According to the numbers released by Tunisia’s National Statistics Institute, Tunisia has 747 thousand rich people and only 376 thousand poor; which puts poverty at only 3.8% in Tunisia, the middle class at 80% and the percentage of the rich at 6.2%; which sounds great, but a bit unrealistic too.
Taking a closer look at the numbers behind the numbers as they were released in a recent Tunisian economic review, we find the following:
Rich people in Tunisia are defined as people who spend 4000 TND (US$ 3,120) or more per year, that’s around 11 TND (US$ 8.58) per day.
On the other hand, poor people are defined as people who spend around 400 TND (US$ 312) or less per year, so around 1 dinar a day (US$ 0.86).
It’s obvious these numbers are a bit unrealistic, especially with the soaring prices of everything from food to the different essential commodities to fuel …etc.
In reality, people living on only 4000 dinars per year are mostly in the lower end of the middle class, barely making ends meet and most probably living in debt.
Personally, I spend a few times more than that per year, and I’m nowhere near rich, in fact I consider myself to be somewhere in the middle middle class.
As for the poor; The World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than US$ 1 per day, and moderate poverty as less than $2 a day; so that would put Tunisians living on around 1 Dinar per day mostly in the extreme poverty category with the best cases “moderately” poor, whatever that’s supposed to mean. That doesn’t mean that people living on a bit more than a dollar or two shouldn’t be considered poor as well; slightly less poor but not that much better off.
I don’t want to sound negative here, and I’m really not, in fact I think that if a person visited Tunisia a number of times over the past years, it would be clearly obvious to them that the middle class is steadily growing, poverty is decreasing, people are spending more, and that the economy is doing better and is more vibrant than ever before.
I just think that the definitions of rich and poor in Tunisia in this study are a bit unrealistic, and that the percentages don’t perfectly represent the truth on the ground. The percentage of rich people is less than 6.2%, and the percentage of the poor is a bit more, with the majority really in the middle class; and after all I think that’s normal; the bigger the middle class is and the smaller poverty and wealth rates are, the healthier the society and more balanced it is as a whole.