The United States is among the wealthiest countries in the world. However, this level of economic development is not the norm in much of the world, and neither is the standard of living the typical American enjoys.
The material wealth of the United States has been generated through a complex, diversified economy, developed over centuries. The U.S. gross national income (GNI) per capita is $55,351. Meanwhile, there are more than half a billion people spread across dozens of countries worldwide where per capita GNI is about $2,000 or less.
Reviewing GNI per capita in 192 countries from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators Database, 24/7 Wall St. identified the poorest countries in the world. GNI captures all economic activity within a nation’s borders in addition to the wealth created by nationally-owned entities operating in other countries. Unlike wealthier countries like the United States, many of the world’s poorest countries have only recently gained independence from their former colonial rulers in Europe.
In many of the world’s poorest countries on this list, economic development has been hampered by political instability and violence. While many countries on this list have stabilized and have reported steady economic growth in recent years, others remain unstable and dangerous and are among the 14 countries the U.S. government doesn’t want you to visit.
Other barriers to prosperity include a lack of critical infrastructure, like a reliable power grid. Public sector corruption, which can discourage investment and stifle growth, is also a common problem. Several of the countries on this list also rank among the most corrupt countries in the world.