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Top 25 Poorest Most Poverty Stricken Countries In The World

Updated on April 15, 2013

Poorest Countries in the World

Below is a list of the poorest countries in the world. Since 1990, the world's expected population has increased by 19%. It has a positive effect in the world as this includes school enrollment, literacy, and income. However, there are countries left in the bottom with a lower Human Development Index, countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia and the democratic Republic of Congo. These are just some of the most poverty stricken countries in the world.

There have been studies that proved that the cause of poverty is hunger and income inequality between rich and poor countries. There are about 1.75 billion lives in countries that lack education, health and livelihood programs, and the income of these people average only at $1.75 per day. Below are the Top 25 Poorest Countries in the World.

Which Continent has the least number of Poorest Countries in the World?

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Ending Poverty - World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on Race and Privilege in Ending Poverty

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim tells a Georgetown University student that he experienced racism as a young Asian-American growing up in Iowa, but that he learned the true meaning of his identity when he began working to end poverty in Haiti, one of the world's poorest nations.

Learning More About World Poverty

A Framework for Understanding Poverty 4th Edition
A Framework for Understanding Poverty 4th Edition

A wonderful book on poverty, and truly how devastating it is.

 
Teaching With Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids' Brains and What Schools Can Do About It
Teaching With Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids' Brains and What Schools Can Do About It

It's amazing how poverty will actually affect kids throughout their entire lives.

 
The Poverty Cookbook For Beginners
The Poverty Cookbook For Beginners

I think we can all use some cheap ways to eat, and save money. This is especially true for those that live in poverty.

 
The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time
The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time

Some great suggestions on how to reduce and eliminate poverty.

 
Congo
Congo

Congo

As of 2010, Congo itself has become the poorest country in the world. Studies show that the 2nd Congo war that begun in 1998 is the reason why the country is experiencing this unfortunate situation. This is the deadliest war that involved killing of 5.4 million people. Congo's population is 70,794,685 with a poverty rate of 71.4%. Health and education are extremely low in the country. Their primary school enrollment of below 33% is the second worst in the world. 117.7 out of 1000 children will die before their first birthday, the highest rate in the world.

Liberia
Liberia

Liberia

Liberia is still recuperating from the remaining effects of the civil war that the 1980 president of Liberia brought. The instability period caused a civil war that killed hundreds of thousands of people. Today, Liberia is undergoing a related economic dislodgement. Poverty in Liberia has increased over the past decades. An estimated 76% of the population live below the poverty line of $1 a day and 52% live in extreme poverty of below $.50 a day. Liberia is abundant in natural resources, but the sad thing is that the Liberian government, with the lack of financial and human resources, does not have the ability to give basic health services to its people. This is why Liberia is one of the most poverty stricken countries in the world.

Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's economy has decreased drastically after 2000 which puts the country in a desperate status. Poverty is exceedingly high; unemployment rate has increased to 80%. The biggest cause of Zimbabwe's poverty is their participation in the Democratic Republic of Congo's war from 1998 to 2002. They have wasted millions of dollars in their participation. Zimbabwe's economy was once Africa's strongest economy, but now is one of the world's worst. The country's life expectancy is among the lowest in the world that may be one of the causes of being one of the most poverty stricken countries in the world. The population's main problem is the early deaths brought by HIV that lessens 20.1% of the population. Today, the health issues of the country are not seeing any near improvements. This is why Zimbabwe is still one of the poorest countries in the world.

Burundi
Burundi

Burundi

Burundi's current poverty rate is 66.9%. Burundi has been having problems ever since with non-coastal geography and injustice. Poor people in rural areas face scarcity of basic social and economic infrastructure. Most people in these areas do not have safe water and do not have enough basic health services. One of the major causes of Burundi's poverty is disability and death from malaria and the increase of HIV/AIDS and other diseases. This has also caused the depletion of agricultural labor force. The country is known for tribal and civil wars, and it has not experienced peace that has been the main factor of being in the 4th line of the poorest countries in the world. There are only 20% of the population who can survive in the daily living and the rest of them living in poverty.

Eritrea

The country has not improved their economic condition with a gross domestic product growth averaged 1.2% during the years of 2005 and 2008. In 2006, its UN Human Development Index ranked 157th out of 177 countries. This indicates the high levels of poverty in the country. Half of the country's population lives below the poverty line, its unemployment and a low literacy is 58.6%. HIV/AIDS is widespread, tuberculosis, malnutrition and poor reproductive health has caused their live expectancy to be just 59 years. One of the causes of Eritrea's poverty is their decades of conflict with Ethiopia which is also one of the most poverty stricken countries in the world. From 1998 to 2000, this conflict has caused more than 20,000 deaths. Eritrea's state of "No War, No Peace" is hindering its economic improvements and keeps them as one of the most poverty stricken countries in the world.

Learn To Avoid Debt - Avoiding debt is a key step in avoiding a life of poverty.

Debt is never a good thing unless you are building credit. If you are building credit then never take on more debt than you can afford to pay off in full each month.

Central African Republic
Central African Republic

Central African Republic

One of the causes of poverty in Central African Republic the lack of water as this causes lesser population. People in Central African Republic walk countless miles a day just to get a cup of water to survive, and children suffer from severe dehydration. Another cause of the country's poverty is cholera which is the main disease in the country. There are about 4,000 people who are suffering from cholera. The illness comes from poor hygiene, and this is because of lack of water as their resources only permits them to drink only once a day and can never give them opportunity to clean. Central African Republic remains as one the poorest countries in the world today.

Niger
Niger

Niger

Niger is one the most poverty stricken countries in the world. Niger's poverty is because of political volatility and inequality. In January 2000, Niger has been qualified for superior debt relief in the International Monetary Fund program for highly indebted poverty stricken countries. Nigeria's economy has been said to grow, but poverty is also projected to get worse due to the continued increase in the gap between the rich and poor. Niger's poverty rate is 71.5%.

Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is naturally wealthy with its mining assets, but only 30% of their people make it to average living status, and the rest of them live on poverty. Today 81.5% of its population is living in absolute poverty. Sierra Leone's government is desperately trying to improve, but they are still one the poorest countries in the world.

Malawi Birth Rate
Malawi Birth Rate

Malawi

Malawi missed their ability to pay for imports due to corruption that fall a general shortage of foreign exchange as investment fell 23% in 2009. Malawi's poverty rate is 53% as of 2004. The main cause of Malawi's poverty is their high fertility rate and high population growth. Its growth rate is 2.8% per year and 5.7 children per female, one of the highest among the poorest countries in the world.

Togo at a Glance
Togo at a Glance

Togo

What's different in Togo's poverty is that, women in the country suffer more from poverty. More than half of the country's agricultural forces are women. Togo is among the world's largest producers of phosphate, but about 56% of their population lives in extreme poverty line that only earns an income of $1.25 a day. Togo's poverty rate is 72% which is one of the highest in the poorest countries in the world. At least one third of Togo's population is malnourished, and one fourth of their total population are children.

Did You Know?

Did you know that in many countries their minimum wage pays them only $300.00 dollars a month! There are even countries where people live on less than $1.00 a day. A double cheeseburger will cost more than what they use to eat on for an entire day.

Madagascar
Madagascar

Madagascar

Madagascar's wealth relies on tourism, agriculture and the extractive industries but it is unstable and many investors are hesitant to do business with their economic situation. This is one the reasons why they are one of the most poverty stricken countries in the world. The country has a 69% population that lives below the poverty line that only earns $1 a day.

Poverty in Afghanistan
Poverty in Afghanistan

Afghanistan

Afghanistan, known for their endless war and lack of investors that result to the nation's GDP per capita at $956. Afghanistan's poverty is at least 36%, and 20,000,000 are living in absolute poverty. Only 24% of Afghans, 15 years old and above can read and write. The recent war with the U.S.A. has also caused them to be one the poorest countries in the world.

Guinea-Bissau Drug Trade
Guinea-Bissau Drug Trade

Guinea-Bissau

Guinea-Bissau's population lives in complicated poverty. Drug traffickers use the country as a transshipment area to Europe for cocaine; at least $1 billion worth of illegal drugs is funneled through the country. The country's legal economy depends mainly on farming and fishing, but there is 60% of the population who live below the poverty line. Two thirds of the country's population lives in poverty, making Guinea-Bissau one of the poorest countries in the world and Africa. After the military coup in 2012, Guinea-Bissau has been a Drug Haven. Drug dealers drop their drug cargoes in remote and unpopulated islands and ship the illegal drugs to other countries from there.

Mozambique
Mozambique

Mozambique

Why is Mozambique one of the poorest countries in the world? Mozambique suffers from insufficient infrastructure, marketable networks, and investment. These are the main reasons why Mozambique fell as one of the most poverty stricken countries in the world. Most of the population in rural areas lives on less than $1 per day, and they lack basic services like water supplies and health facilities as well as schools. These factors make them one of the most poverty stricken countries in the world.

Overpopulation in Ethiopia
Overpopulation in Ethiopia

Ethiopia

Ethiopia's agriculture is the main economic resources; unfortunately, they have not been successful in this field which is one of the causes of poverty in Ethiopia. There is 55% of the population of Addis Adaba who lives in slums. As of 2008, with a population of 80 million, 35 million people live in absolute poverty. Ethiopia's life expectancy is only 57 years. Its inflation rate is 26% which remains a significant problem for the country. There are 12,000 street children in their capacity living in absolute poverty and hostile conditions.

Mali
Mali

Mali

Mali has been continuously reliant on foreign aid. Poverty in Mali is extremely evident. More than half of its population does not have access to safe drinking water. Mali's illiteracy rate is the highest in Africa which is 70%. Malnutrition is also an enormous problem; at least 25% of children under the age of 3 suffer from chronic malnutrition. Only 36% of the population has access to health services within 5 kms, and only 8% has access to decent sanitary facilities. Mali has made it to the list of the poorest countries in the world due to these facts.

Drought in Burkina-Faso
Drought in Burkina-Faso

Burkina-Faso

Burkina-Faso's poverty is due to constant drought and civil wars. Their main product for export is cotton which is barely giving them any income. These droughts make growing cotton extremely difficult. Burkina Faso is a serious problem in West Africa. 46.4% its population lives under the poverty line. Only about 28% of its population is literate. Due to low literacy rate, the unemployment rate is exceptionally high. What's worsening their poverty is their population growth rate. Burkina Faso's population is 16,967,845 as of 2011 with a growth rate of 3% per year. Experts say that this will double within 25 years.

Comoros
Comoros

Comoros

Comoros has few natural resources with a rapidly increasing population. 60% its population lives in poverty, earning only $1.25/day. Comoro's poverty is due to their isolation from other neighboring countries. The size of their market is restricted, and the high cost of inter-island and transport to other countries make it more challenging for them to earn a decent income. Comoro's transportation system is insufficient. What makes the country's economic activity extremely poor is that their labor force has an extremely low education level. The country has also been relying mostly on help from other countries, which includes technical assistance. Comoro's natural resources seem to be too few for their population, making food and agriculture an immense challenge for them. Statistics show that Comoro is still one the most poverty stricken countries in the world.

Earthquake in Haiti
Earthquake in Haiti

Haiti

Haiti has been suffering from corruption, poverty, inadequate access to education and health services. The recent 7.0 magnitude that recently devastated much of its capital city is making things worse as they are still trying to recover until now. The main reason for the country's poverty is corruption and biased tax systems which further widen the gap between the rich and the poor. In 2009, Haiti has been ranked the 10th most corrupt country in the world. Haiti has been receiving a lot of donations and funds from other countries, but the sad thing is that most of which never reach the people of Haiti due to corruption. The rate people living below the extreme poverty line of $1/ day is 54% and 78% live below the poverty line of $2/day. Like many of other poorest countries in the world, children of Haiti suffer the most. 50% of its children who aged 5 and below are malnourished.

Uganda
Uganda

Uganda

Uganda's poverty is mainly caused by the unequal distribution of income which causes hunger, malnutrition and unemployment. 67% of Uganda's population are living in both $1/day and $2/day and the sad thing is that even those living in $2/day are most like to fall back to extreme poverty. The country's poverty rate is further worsening because droughts, flood and high inflation. Poor people in Uganda answer poverty by selling whatever they have and spending their savings. Even in extreme poverty, people of Uganda are reluctant to foreign assistance.

Great books for the working poor

Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!
Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!

This book is a must read for anyone whom have lived in poverty most of their lives. It's nothing short of stunning the differences.

 
Child Labor in Benin
Child Labor in Benin

Benin

Approximately 50% of Benin's population live below the poverty line. 29% of its children under 5 years old are malnourished, and the country has a remarkably short life expectancy of 55. Benin's poverty is also caused by the natural cycle of nature. Benin's farmers are finding it extremely difficult to farm due to inadequate rainfall, making their agricultural lands difficult to develop. Their low income also makes it difficult for them to acquire sufficient farming machineries and seeds. One of the biggest challenges of Benin today is human trafficking. Children who are 15 years old are traded for labor. Some parents even send their children to neighboring countries to work. They are hoping that their children can earn and send money if they work in neighboring countries like Nigeria and Gabon. Their other purpose of sending their children to other countries is so that they have one less mouth to feed.

Marriage Dowry in Bangladesh
Marriage Dowry in Bangladesh

Bangladesh

Bangladesh has a population of approximately 150 million; at least 49% live in poverty. Child malnutrition is also severe at a rate of 48%. Bangladesh's poverty is mainly due to corruption, poor infrastructure, unstable politics, and even insufficient electricity. The main cause of poverty in Bangladesh is marriage dowry. Their dowry payments can reach up to at least 200 times their daily income and medical expenses. Although this practice is illegal in the country, it is still widespread in rural areas. Most of the time their expenses can be doubled due to the dowry payment and the cause of the wedding. This has been the greatest cause of poverty especially in families with daughters. This is why Bangladesh is among the most poverty stricken countries in the world.

Poverty in Djibouti
Poverty in Djibouti

Djibouti

60% of Djibouti's population lives below the poverty line $1/day, Out of 282,000 labor force, 50% are unemployed. In 2001, the country's life expectancy is 49 for males and 53 for females with an infant mortality rate of 102/1000. The major cause of the country's poverty is the recurring droughts. At least 70% to 80% of livestock were lost due these droughts. These losses of livestock have also caused food prices to increase up to 50%. This food crisis has caused families to spend more on food and care less of their health and education expenses. Access to water is also difficult. Women have to walk at 23kms just to reach the nearest water source. HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases are widespread as there is large prostitute population.

Zambia Life Expectancy
Zambia Life Expectancy

Zambia

In the past three decades, Zambia's income has extremely decreased. They are one the most poverty stricken countries in the world for quite a long time. 64% of their population lives below the poverty line. As a way to cope with poverty, families reduce the number of meals per day. This of course causes malnutrition and poor education among children. There is an abundance of foreign assistance to Zambia, but sadly this has also caused their people to be too reliant on help. 44 years after their independence, they are still relying mostly on foreign assistance. Zambia is also extremely poor in health, education and civil services as most of their educated individuals immigrate to other countries for better opportunities.

Rwanda
Rwanda

Rwanda

Rwanda is exceptionally poor in resources among the poorest countries in the world. The main cause of Rwanda's poverty is population growth. Rwanda's population is 9.7 million and a population growth of 2.8%, and this will increase to about 12 million in the coming years. 56.9% of their population live in poverty and 37.9% live in extreme poverty. Agriculture is Rwanda's main economic force. Erosion, climatic hazards and the lack of modern machineries make it extremely difficult for people to generate income. HIV/AIDS makes their poverty even worse.

What Do You Think Is The Best Way To Reduce Or Eliminate Poverty? - Leave Your 2 Cents Here

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      Sammy 2 years ago

      Simple. Educate & farm. Thats the basics of an human economy.

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      globalpoverty 3 years ago

      Really interesting and informative article. I think that the U.S. government could be doing so much more to alleviate the issue of global poverty, such as allocating more of our federal budget towards foreign aid (presently, less than 1% of the budget goes towards foreign aid). check out for more details/facts!