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Mar 29, 2008
Daily Almanac for Apr 20, 2008
World & News
World > World Statistics > Economic Statistics
World's 50 Poorest Countries
UN list of least developed countries1[/B]

Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kiribati, Laos, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Samoa, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sudan, East Timor, Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, Tanzania, Vanuatu, Yemen, Zambia.
Trends among the world's poorest countries

Since 1990, there has been encouraging news emerging from developing countries. According to the UN's 2005 Human Development Report, life expectancy in developing countries has increased by two years. There are three million fewer child deaths annually and 30 million fewer children out of school. More than 130 million have escaped extreme poverty. In 2003, however, 18 countries with a combined population of 460 million registered lower on the human development index (HDI) than in 1990, an unprecedented reversal.

Child mortality rates are directly related to a country's human development opportunity. Death rates among the world's children are falling, but the trend is slowing and the gap between rich and poor countries is widening. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for a rising share of child deaths: in 2005, the region represented 20% of births worldwide and 44% of child deaths.

To illustrate the income inequality between rich and poor countries, consider these facts: the world's richest individuals have a combined income greater than that of the poorest 416 million; 982 million people out of the developing world's 4.8 billion people live on $1 per day, and another 2.5 billion (40% of the world's population) live on less than $2 per day. In addition, the poorest 40% of the world population accounted for 5% of global income in 2005, the richest 20% accounted for 75% of world income, and the richest 10% for 54%.

About 60% of the poorest countries experienced civil conflict of varying intensity and duration in the period 1990–2001 that, in most cases, erupted after a period of economic stagnation and regression. In Rwanda, for example, average private consumption per capita fell by more than 12% between 1980 and 1993, the year before the genocide occurred.
1. The UN classifies countries as "least developed" based on three criteria: (1) annual gross domestic product (GDP) below $900 per capita; (2) quality of life, based on life expectancy at birth, per capita calorie intake, primary and secondary school enrollment rates, and adult literacy; and (3) economic vulnerability, based on instability of agricultural productions and exports, inadequate diversification, and economic smallness. Half or more of the population in the 50 least developed countries listed above are estimated to live at or below the absolute poverty line of U.S. $1 per day.

Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. Measuring Global Poverty Economic Statistics Per Capita Foreign Aid Assistance by World's Wealthiest Countries, 2002

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