What is a low-income country? According to the World Bank, low-income countries are nations that have a per capita gross national income (GNI) of less than $1,026.
The World Bank classifies countries into several categories. Originally, there were three categories: high-income countries, middle-income countries, and low-income countries. The high-income group has the highest income in the world with a GNI per capita of at least $12,476. The upper-middle-income group has per capita incomes between $4,038 and $12,475. The lower-middle-income nations have GNI per capita of $1,026 to $4,035. Finally, low-income countries have GNI per capita of $1,025 per less.
Low-income countries are often synonymous with underdeveloped countries, also known as developing countries, emerging markets, or newly industrialized countries. These counties receive development aid, which is financial aid given by governments or agencies to boost and support the economic, political, social, and environmental development in other countries. Bilateral aid is given directly from the donor country to another, and multilateral aid is given to an international organization which then distributes the aid to developing countries. World Bank and United Nations agencies such as UNICEF are examples of organizations that are involved in development aid.
Low-income countries face struggles relating to a poor economy. Issues related to poor economic health include below average life expectancy, high infant mortality rates, poor educational outcomes, degrading infrastructure, environmental and climate conditions, and poor health outcomes. These low-income countries suffer high rates of illnesses and infections due to lack of clean water, low levels of sanitation, malnutrition, and lack of access to quality medical care.
There are currently 32 countries in the low-income country category. Somalia is at the bottom of the low-income country list, with a GNI per capita of $130.