Arguably the single most influential factor in determining the quality of life in a given country is its economic health. The World Bank, a global organization dedicated to ending extreme poverty all over the world, divides countries into four categories based upon their Gross National Income (GNI) per capita. For the 2022 financial year, the category boundaries (in US$) are up to $1,045 GNI for low-income economies, $1,046 to $4,095 for lower-middle-income economies, $4,096 to $12,695 for upper-middle-income economies (the middle-income economies are occasionally grouped into a single category), and $12,696 or more for high-income economies.
For the 2022 financial year, the World Bank placed 80 countries in the high-income category. Many of these countries, such as the United States, have consistently ranked in this category since the 1980s. Other nations, like Saudi Arabia, started out as high-income, dropped down into a lower category, then regained their high-income status. Some former high-income countries, such as Russia and Venezuela, slipped to a lower bracket and have yet to regain the high-income classification.
Every High-Income Country and Territory in the World (World Bank 2022):
|Antigua and Barbuda||Greece||Poland|
|Bahamas||Hungary||Saint Kitts and Nevis|
|Belgium||Isle of Man||Saudi Arabia|
|British Virgin Islands||Italy||Singapore|
|Channel Islands||Liechtenstein||South Korea|
|Czech Republic||Monaco||Trinidad and Tobago|
|Denmark||Nauru||Turks and Caicos Islands|
|Estonia||Netherlands||United Arab Emirates|
|Faroe Islands||New Caledonia||United Kingdom|
|Finland||New Zealand||United States|
|France||Northern Mariana Islands||United States Virgin Islands|
GNI per capita explained
GNI per capita is essentially a measure of a nation's total income divided by the number of people in that country. A country's overall GNI is very similar to gross national product (GNP), an older metric GNI has largely replaced. GNI is calculated by starting with a country's gross domestic product (GDP), then adding money its citizens and businesses have brought in from other countries and subtracting money taken out of the economy by businesses and investors based in other countries. Once a country's GNI has been calculated, it is divided by that country's population to determine its GNI per capita. GNI offers little insight into a country's income inequality but is nonetheless considered one of the most important at-a-glance assessments of a country's economic health.
The relationship between income and development
While World Bank classifies countries by income, the United Nations groups countries by their level of overall development. There is, however, a high degree of correlation between the two systems, as development often runs parallel to income. As a rule, countries classified as high income by World Bank correspond to those deemed developed countries by the United Nations. Upper-middle- and lower-middle-income countries roughly correspond to the United Nations' developing countries, and World Bank's low-income countries list includes many of what the United Nations would consider the least-developed or (less commonly) underdeveloped countries.