25 Poorest Countries in the World

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5. Liberia
> GNI per capita: $1,040
> 2018 GDP: $3.2 billion (169th out of 208 countries)
> Population (2018): 4.8 million
> Life expectancy at birth in 2017: 63.3 years

Liberia’s economy is heavily dependent on foreign aid and its abundant natural resources, which include valuable minerals, forests, and agricultural products. While natural resources have contributed to the current economic boon, control of the resources fueled a civil war in the 1990s and 2000s that destroyed much of the country’s economy and infrastructure. Today, Liberia’s GNI per capita of $1,040 is among the lowest in the world.

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4. Niger
> GNI per capita: $901
> 2018 GDP: $9.2 billion (146th out of 208 countries)
> Population (2018): 22.4 million
> Life expectancy at birth in 2017: 61.6 years

The African nation of Niger is one of just a few countries in the world with a GNI per capita of less than $1,000. The United States has a population roughly 14 times that of Niger, but a GDP over 2,200 times larger. Niger’s life expectancy at birth is just 61.6 years, nearly 17 years below that of the United States. The country has been ranked by the UN as one of the least economically developed nations on Earth.

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3. Democratic Republic of the Congo
> GNI per capita: $800
> 2018 GDP: $47.2 billion (90th out of 208 countries)
> Population (2018): 84.1 million
> Life expectancy at birth in 2017: 60.0 years

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of only four countries with a GNI per capita of less than $1,000. Corruption in the public sector can discourage investment and hinder economic progress, and according to Transparency International, a nonprofit corruption watchdog, the DR Congo is one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

It has also been at the center of a war that has resulted in the deaths of over 6 million people. The fighting has been fueled by attempts to control the country’s considerable mineral wealth, which includes diamonds, gold, uranium, and copper.

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2. Central African Republic
> GNI per capita: $756
> 2018 GDP: $2.4 billion (180th out of 208 countries)
> Population (2018): 4.7 million
> Life expectancy at birth in 2017: 52.2 years

Like many of the poorest countries in the world, the Central African Republic’s economy is primarily driven by agriculture. Though the nation has some valuable natural resources, including diamonds, gold, and uranium, it remains highly underdeveloped, thanks in large part to ongoing political instability and a number of violent conflicts in the region over the decades. The Central African Republic has the shortest-lived population on Earth, with a life expectancy at birth of just 52.2 years.

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1. Burundi
> GNI per capita: $689
> 2018 GDP: $3.1 billion (172nd out of 208 countries)
> Population (2018): 11.2 million
> Life expectancy at birth in 2017: 60.9 years

Burundi is the poorest country in the world, as measured by gross national income per capita. Burundiy’s GNI per capita was just $689 as of 2018, or less than 1/80th the U.S. GNI per capita. Like many of the poorest nations in the world, farming is far and away the largest industry, accounting for over 90% of employment. The nation is heavily reliant on foreign aid, and it has a poverty rate of nearly 75%.