The 5 Poorest Countries in the World

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Which came first: an economy on life support or limited opportunity for individuals? Each of our top five poorest countries has grappled with this problem for years. All have stagnated as agriculture-based societies that, unlike more advanced nations, haven't experienced an industrial revolution to increase its gross domestic product, a standard measurement of a country's total economic output. "Opportunity" may be a longer word than "poor," but without it, citizens of the world's least affluent countries face a long road to financial well-being. Of the many ways to measure national poverty, the one used here, GDP at purchasing power parity, more closely presents a picture of the standard of living. GDP PPP converts the cost of goods in a country into U.S. dollars for apples-to-apples comparisons.
The 5 Poorest Countries in the World


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Nearly two-thirds of Liberians live on less than $1 a day. This civil-war-ridden country, about the size of Tennessee, has a per capita GDP of $490. Located along the Atlantic coast of Africa, Liberia has an ideal climate for agriculture—its primary industry—and rice, its number one crop. Timber harvesting and diamond mining represent prime opportunities for Liberia to capitalize on its natural resources.

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