Here’s what life is like for the average family on Earth

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Zoriah Miller for Dollar Street

Most people on Earth have a decent life: a roof over their head, food and plates to put it on, chairs, toys, pets, and dreams.

That’s a takeaway from “Dollar Street,” a new project that shows photos of homes at different income levels around the world. Created by the Gapminder Foundation, it is meant to promote understanding about global unity and progress.

“We tend to think you have the rich, you have the poor, and nothing in between,” says Gapminder co-founder Anna Rosling-Rönnlund. “It’s rather you have a continuous scale, a very smooth distribution, where most people are actually in the middle.”

Another takeaway from the project is that income matters more than nationality.

“When you look at the certain income and you look on a very everyday item that someone has in their home to solve everyday needs, it’s striking to see how similar our lives are,” Rosling-Rönnlund says.

So what’s life like in the middle? According to Dollar Street, the median home lives on around $250 to $390 per adult per month. Keep reading to see what that looks like.


The average family on Earth might look something like this.

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Dollar Street

They might live in a ramshackle but permanent home. They might live in a larger home with an extended family.

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Dollar Street

They’ve got food on the table.

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Dollar Street

They’ve got salt and spices to enhance flavor.

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Dollar Street

They might drink water from a hose or a bottle. They probably have access to improved water sources.

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Dollar Street

They might clean with a bucket or a shower.

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Dollar Street

Their most-loved toy might be a computer, a teddy bear, a soccer ball, or a plastic sword.

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Dollar Street

Their most-loved item might be sewing scissors, bracelets, phones, or a savings book.

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Dollar Street

They might wash clothes in a bucket or a washing machine.

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Dollar Street

They have decorations on the wall.

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Dollar Street

They might have a TV.

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Dollar Street

They probably have toothpaste.

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Dollar Street

They have plastic toothbrushes, though some might share one.

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Dollar Street

They might have a rug on the floor.

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Dollar Street

They’ve got plates to eat on.

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Dollar Street

They probably have a cell phone.

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Dollar Street

They have soap to wash their hands.

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Dollar Street

Their hands might look like this.

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Dollar Street

Their palms might look like this.

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Dollar Street

They have a container for storing grain.

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Dollar Street

They might have a lock on the front door.

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Dollar Street

They might store food in a refrigerator, might store it in a bucket.

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Dollar Street

They’ve got shoes to wear every day.

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Dollar Street

They probably have soap to wash dishes.

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Dollar Street

They might have metal cutlery or might have plastic.

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Dollar Street

They’ve got cups to drink from.

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Dollar Street

They probably don’t have toilet paper but do have a bucket of water.

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Dollar Street

They’ve got books to read.

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Dollar Street

They’ve got chairs to sit on.

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Dollar Street

They’ve got stoves to cook on, though they may be dangerously smokey.

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Dollar Street

They might have beds or might have sleeping mats.

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Dollar Street

They might have a sit down toilet, a squat toilet, or an outhouse.

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Dollar Street

Their teeth might look like this.

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Dollar Street

They pets might look like this.

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Dollar Street

They dream of being able to pay for things: a car, a fridge, a school, a moped.

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Dollar Street