Income Level 2

People at Income Level 2 live on $2 – $8 a day. Unlike people living at Income Level 1, they don’t have to struggle to meet their basic needs, and their lives are easier and better in many ways. For the three billion people living at this income level, though, there’s still a great deal of uncertainty.

For example, while people living at Income Level 2 can afford basic medication, a single major illness in the family could push them back down to Level 1, and extreme poverty. An extreme weather event — or some other unexpected setback — could easily do the same thing.

People at this income level still work in physically demanding jobs — and are often still farmers — but unlike their Level 1 counterparts, they are able to start saving a little money. That extra money may help them to buy a bike, which at this Income Level can make a huge difference to a person’s life — it means they can fetch clean water from a cold water tap in under 30 minutes, and/or travel to a job that pays a bit more than they could earn if they had to work within walking distance.

Having more money also allows people who are at Income Level 2 to eat a more varied diet —  they might buy some meat, eggs, vegetables, and even spices from the local shop or market to go along with their staple grains. And while meals are still basic, they can at least be cooked on a gas burner instead of an open fire.

When it comes to homes, the houses people live in at this Income Level are stronger than those at Level 1, but are still simple and made from a patchwork of materials. There is more likely to be a lock on the front door, but there are still many people sharing a small space. One major bonus of making the jump from Level 1 to Level 2 is that people no longer have to sleep on the floor, as they can afford mattresses.

And there’s another huge bonus to being at Income Level 2: Electricity. Electrical power suppliers are typically unstable but can allow families to have a few lightbulbs in their homes. That means people are less dependent on the sun for visibility, and children can spend more time doing their homework in the evenings.

See families on Dollar Street living on Income Level 2