Special Report

25 Poorest Countries in the World

Gross national income, or GNI, represents the sum total of money earned by a nation’s people and businesses within a given year. On a per capita basis, GNI is a useful measure for assessing the wealth of a country’s population. 

With a GNI per capita of $55,351, the United States is an exceptionally wealthy country. Around the world, nearly a billion people live in countries where GNI per capita is less than $5,000. 

Using data from the World Bank, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the GNI per capita of over 150 nations to identify the 25 poorest countries. GNI per capita figures are based on purchasing power parity and are in constant 2011 international dollars. We also included life expectancy at birth from the World Bank, as well as GDP from the International Monetary Fund. Population and life expectancy at birth are also from the World Bank and are for the most recent period available. GNI per capita data ranges from 2016 to 2018.

With only two exceptions, every country on this list is located in Africa, and almost all of them gained independence from European powers within the last 100 years. Perhaps counterintuitively, many of them are also rich in valuable minerals like copper, uranium, diamonds, and gold. Rather than being an economic boon, however, such resources often contribute to the lack of economic development, as economies can become overly reliant on them and fail to diversify. 

In many of these countries, the struggle for control over valuable resources has led to devastating civil wars that raged on for years and made economic development all but impossible. Violence in many of these countries has made them unsafe for American travelers. Here is a list of the 26 countries that the U.S. State Department does not want you to visit. 

Rampant corruption in the highest levels of government is also a common theme among the countries on this list. Abuse of power for private gain can discourage investment and hinder economic progress, and according to Transparency International, a nonprofit corruption watchdog, many of these countries are hampered by such corruption. Here is a look at the most corrupt countries in the world.

Click here to see the 25 poorest countries in the world
Click here to see the 25 richest countries in the world

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