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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Eritrea may have gold and copper to mine, but 80 percent of its citizens farm and fewer than seven out of 10 can read and write. In this land that borders Sudan and Ethiopia along the Red Sea, farmers struggle with repeated droughts and a lack of labor caused by the government's strict military draft. Eritrea's poverty is evidenced by its per capita GDP of $777.

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