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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Twice as many people live in Burundi as in the state of Maryland, although the two are similar in size. Nine out of 10 Burundians rely on farming to survive. Droughts and commodity prices affect their income from major crops such as tea and coffee, one reason why the country's per capita PPP gross national product of $640 makes it the world's fourth poorest. Less than 2 percent of the population has electricity in this rural society.

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