The 25 Poorest Countries In The World 2021 – [IMF Current Data]

The poorest countries in the world are classified based on indicators such as; Human Development Index (HDI), Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, Total GDP.

When taken into account the social and individual income factors, most of the poorest countries are in Africa. However, based on data indicating the size of the economy, the poorest nations are concentrated in Oceania.

Ranking Factor

Some indicators can be used to classify the poorest countries in the world. The criteria adopted for this purpose vary according to the international body or the institution responsible for the study and ranking.

A country’s poverty can be classified based on indicators such as HDI and GDP. Let us take as an example, first, the classification made by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) based on the values of a country’s Human Development Index (HDI). Its calculation takes into account three aspects of the population:

  • life expectancy at birth
  • educational level (total years of education expected and years of study for the adult population)
  • gross national income

Simply put, health, education and the average income of a country’s population are the basis for the HDI, whose values ​​range from 0 to 1. A country is considered less developed when its index is below 0.555.

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) adopts income as a guide, classifying countries based on the value of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita by Purchasing Power Parity (PPC).

This indicator is equivalent to the sum of all values ​​of goods and services produced in a country divided by its population.

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PPP is adapted to measure a country’s purchasing power using a single currency, which is the dollar; it can also express the cost of living in a given country.

The World Bank also performs this calculation and makes an extensive database available to the public. In the same way as the individual value, a country’s total GDP can be used for its classification.

However, this indicator is limited, since it disregards the poor distribution of income among the population. Therefore, it does not express the phenomenon of social inequality, but the dimension of the national economy.

Definition of poverty

Poverty does not have a single definition due to its multidimensional character, as explained by the United Nations (UN) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI).

The scarcity of monetary resources, which is most commonly associated with the concept of poverty, is only one of the aspects that make up the problem. The dimensions of poverty integrate:

  • lack of food, malnutrition;
  • limited access to basic services such as sanitation, education, health and electricity.
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The UN also highlights the discrimination and social exclusion and the lack of participation in decision-making as other aspects that can characterize the poverty of a social group.

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In monetary terms, the World Bank establishes the poverty line, which consists of a minimum daily value below which an individual cannot meet his most basic needs.

What are the poorest countries in the world?

Following the different criteria explained in the previous item, we present you with the list of the 25 poorest nations in the world.

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Poorest countries in the world according to their GDP per capita

The data below corresponds to 2021 by the International Monetary Fund.

S/NCountryGDP per capita (in USD)
2.South Sudan322
5.Sierra Leone470
6.Democratic Republic of Congo477
9.Central African Republic521
22.Burkina faso850
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Another way to measure the wealth of a country is through its nominal GDP. The GDP nominal expresses the monetary value of all goods and services produced by a country over a period of time; usually one year. Therefore, in this case, the country’s population plays a fundamental role.

Poorest countries in the world according to their nominal GDP

The data below corresponds to 2021 by the International Monetary Fund.

S/NCountryNominal GDP (in millions of USD)
4.Marshall Islands230
6.Federated States of Micronesia410
7.Sao Tome and Principe480
10.St. Vincent and the Grenadines820
13.Saint Kitts and Nevis950
18.San Marino1520
20Solomon Islands1680
22.East Timor1710
23.St. Lucia1940
25.Cape Verde2070

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