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World Bank classification of economies - 1996

Definitions of groups

For operational and analytical purposes, the World Bank’s main criterion for classifying economies is gross national product (GNP) per capita. Every economy is classified as low income, middle income (subdivided into lower middle and upper middle), or high income. Other analytical groups, based on geographic regions, exports, and levels of external debt, are also used.

Low-income and middle-income economies are sometimes referred to as developing economies. The use of the term is convenient; it is not intended to imply that all economies in the group are experiencing similar development or that other economies have reached a preferred or final stage of development. Classification by income does not necessarily reflect development status.

Definitions of groups

These tables classify all World Bank member countries (181), and all other economies with populations of more than 30,000 (210 total).

Income group: Economies are divided according to 1996 GNP per capita, calculated using the World Bank Atlas method. The groups are: low income, $785 or less; lower middle income, $786- $3,115; upper middle income, $3,116- $9,635; and high income, $9,636 or more.

Indebtedness: Standard World Bank definitions of severe and moderate indebtedness are used to classify economies in this table. Severely indebted means either of the two key ratios is above critical levels: present value of debt service to GNP (80 percent) and present value of debt service to exports (220 percent). Moderately indebted means either of the two key ratios exceeds 60 percent of, but does not reach, the critical levels. For economies that do not report detailed debt statistics to the World Bank Debtor Reporting System (DRS), present-value calculation is not possible. Instead, the following methodology is used to classify the non-DRS economies. Severely indebted means three of four key ratios (averaged over 1994- 96) are above critical levels: debt to GNP (50 percent); debt to exports (275 percent); debt service to exports (30 percent); and interest to exports (20 percent). Moderately indebted means three of the four key ratios exceed 60 percent of, but do not reach, the critical levels. All other classified low- and middle-income economies are listed as less-indebted.

East Asia and Pacific
Europe and Central Asia
Latin America and the Caribbean
Middle East and North Africa
South Asia
Sub-Saharan Africa
Low-income economies
Lower-middle-income economies
Upper-middle-income economies
High-income economies
High-income OECD members
Severely indebted
Moderately indebted
Less indebted
Not classified by indebtedness

East Asia and Pacific (developing only: 22)

American Samoa Malaysia Samoa
Cambodia Marshall Islands Solomon Islands
China Micronesia, Fed. Sts Thailand
Fiji Mongolia Tonga
Indonesia Myanmar Vanuatu
Kiribati Palau Vietnam
Korea, Dem. Rep. Papua New Guinea
Lao PDR Philippines

Europe and Central Asia (developing only: 30)

Albania Hungary Romania
Armenia Isle of Man Russian Federation
Azerbaijan Kazakhstan Slovak Republic
Belarus Kyrgyz Republic Slovenia
Bosnia and Herzegovina Latvia Tajikistan
Bulgaria Lithuania Turkey
Croatia Macedonia, FYR Turkmenistan
Czech Republic Malta Ukraine
Estonia Moldova Uzbekistan
Georgia Poland  Yugoslavia, FR (Serbia/Montenegro)

Latin America and the Caribbean (developing only: 34)

Antigua and Barbuda Ecuador Paraguay
Argentina El Salvador Peru
Barbados Grenada Puerto Rico
Belize Guadeloupe St. Kitts and Nevis
Bolivia Guatemala St. Lucia
Brazil Guyana St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Chile Haiti Suriname
Colombia Honduras Trinidad and Tobago
Costa Rica Jamaica Uruguay
Cuba Mexico Venezuela
Dominica Nicaragua
Dominican Republic Panama

Middle East and North Africa (developing only: 15)

Algeria Jordan Saudi Arabia
Bahrain Lebanon Syrian Arab Republic
Egypt, Arab Rep. Libya Tunisia
Iran, Islamic Rep. Morocco West Bank and Gaza
Iraq Oman Yemen, Rep.

South Asia (8)

Afghanistan India Pakistan
Bangladesh Maldives Sri Lanka
Bhutan Nepal

Sub-Saharan Africa (developing only: 49)

Angola Gabon Nigeria
Benin Gambia, The Rwanda
Botswana Ghana São Tomé and Principe
Burkina Faso Guinea Senegal
Burundi Guinea-Bissau Seychelles
Cameroon Kenya Sierra Leone
Cape Verde Lesotho Somalia
Central African Republic Liberia South Africa
Chad Madagascar Sudan
Comoros Malawi Swaziland
Congo, Dem. Rep. Mali Tanzania
Congo, Rep Mauritania Togo
Côte d'Ivoire Mauritius Uganda
Djibouti Mayotte Zambia
Equatorial Guinea Mozambique Zimbabwe
Eritrea Namibia
Ethiopia Niger

Low-income economies (63)

Afghanistan Ethiopia Myanmar
Angola Gambia, The Nepal
Armenia Ghana Nicaragua
Azerbaijan Guinea Niger
Bangladesh Guinea-Bissau Nigeria
Benin Guyana Pakistan
Bhutan Haiti Rwanda
Bosnia and Herzegovina Honduras São Tomé and Principe
Burkina Faso India Senegal
Burundi Kenya Sierra Leone
Cambodia Kyrgyz Republic Somalia
Cameroon Lao PDR Sri Lanka
Central African Republic Lesotho Sudan
Chad Liberia Tajikistan
China Madagascar Tanzania
Comoros Malawi Togo
Congo, Dem. Rep Mali Uganda
Congo, Rep. Mauritania Vietnam
Côte d'Ivoire Moldova Yemen, Rep.
Equatorial Guinea Mongolia Zambia
Eritrea Mozambique Zimbabwe

Lower-middle-income economies (63)

Albania Guatemala Peru
Algeria Indonesia Philippines
Belarus Iran, Islamic Rep. Romania
Belize Iraq Russian Federation
Bolivia Jamaica Samoa
Botswana Jordan Solomon Islands
Bulgaria Kazakhstan. St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Cape Verde Kiribati Suriname
Colombia Korea, Dem. Rep. Swaziland
Costa Rica Latvia Syrian Arab Republic
Cuba Lebanon Thailand
Djibouti Lithuania Tonga
Dominica Macedonia, FYR Tunisia
Dominican Republic Maldives Turkey
Ecuador Marshall Islands Turkmenistan
Egypt, Arab Rep. Micronesia, Fed. Sts. Ukraine
El Salvador Morocco Uzbekistan
Estonia Namibia Vanuatu
Fiji Panama Venezuela
Georgia Papua New Guinea West Bank and Gaza
Grenada Paraguay Yugoslavia, FR (Serbia/Montenegro)

Upper-middle-income economies (32)

American Samoa Hungary Puerto Rico
Antigua and Barbuda Isle of Man Saudi Arabia
Argentina Libya Seychelles
Bahrain Malaysia Slovak Republic
Barbados Malta Slovenia
Brazil Mauritius South Africa
Chile Mayotte St. Kitts and Nevis
Croatia Mexico St. Lucia
Czech Republic Oman Trinidad and Tobago
Gabon Palau Uruguay
Guadeloupe Poland

High-income economies (52)

Andorra Germany Netherlands Antilles
Aruba Greece New Caledonia
Australia Greenland New Zealand
Austria Guam Northern Mariana Islands
Bahamas, The Hong Kong, China Norway
Belgium Iceland Portugal
Bermuda Ireland Qatar
Brunei Israel Reunion
Canada Italy Singapore
Cayman Islands Japan Spain
Channel Islands Korea, Rep. Sweden
Cyprus Kuwait Switzerland
Denmark Liechtenstein United Arab Emirates
Faeroe Islands Luxembourg United Kingdom
Finland Macao United States
France Martinique Virgin Islands (U.S.)
French Guiana Monaco
French Polynesia Netherlands

High-income OECD members ( 24)

Australia Greece New Zealand
Austria Iceland Norway
Belgium Ireland Portugal
Canada Italy Spain
Denmark Japan Sweden
Finland Korea, Rep. Switzerland
France Luxembourg United Kingdom
Germany Netherlands  United States

Severely indebted (52)

Afghanistan Ethiopia Myanmar
Algeria Gabon Nicaragua
Angola Ghana Niger
Argentina Guinea Nigeria
Bolivia Guinea-Bissau Peru
Bosnia and Herzegovina Guyana Rwanda
Brazil Haiti São Tomé and Principe
Bulgaria Honduras Sierra Leone
Burkina Faso Indonesia Somalia
Burundi Iraq Sudan
Cameroon. Jamaica Syrian Arab Republic
Central African Republic Jordan Tanzania
Congo, Dem. Rep. Liberia Uganda
Congo, Rep. Madagascar Vietnam
Côte d'Ivoire Malawi Yemen, Rep.
Cuba Mali Zambia
Ecuador Mauritania
Equatorial Guinea Mozambique

Moderately indebted (29)

Bangladesh India Senegal
Benin Kenya St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Cambodia Lao PDR Thailand
Chad Macedonia, FYR Togo
Chile Malaysia Tunisia
Colombia Mexico Turkey
Comoros Morocco Uruguay
Gambia, The Pakistan Venezuela
Georgia Panama Zimbabwe
Hungary Philippines

Less indebted (68)

Albania Grenada Romania
Antigua and Barbuda Guatemala Russian Federation
Armenia Iran, Islamic Rep. Samoa
Azerbaijan Kazakhstan Saudi Arabia
Bahrain Kiribati Seychelles
Barbados Korea, Dem. Rep. Slovak Republic
Belarus Kyrgyz Republic Slovenia
Belize Latvia Solomon Islands
Bhutan Lebanon South Africa
Botswana Lesotho Sri Lanka
Cape Verde Libya St. Kitts and Nevis
China Lithuania St. Lucia
Costa Rica Maldives Suriname
Croatia Malta Swaziland
Czech Republic Mauritius Tajikistan
Djibouti Moldova Tonga
Dominica Mongolia Trinidad and Tobago
Dominican Republic Namibia Turkmenistan
Egypt, Arab Rep. Nepal Ukraine
El Salvador Oman Uzbekistan
Eritrea Papua New Guinea Vanuatu
Estonia Paraguay Yugoslavia, FR (Serbia/Montenegro)
Fiji Poland

Not classified by indebtedness (61)

American Samoa Greenland Netherlands Antilles
Andorra Guadeloupe New Caledonia
Aruba Guam New Zealand
Australia Hong Kong, China Northern Mariana Islands
Austria Iceland Norway
Bahamas, The Ireland Palau
Belgium Isle of Man Portugal
Bermuda Israel Puerto Rico
Brunei Italy Qatar
Canada Japan Reunion
Cayman Islands Korea, Rep. Singapore
Channel Islands Kuwait Spain
Cyprus Liechtenstein Sweden
Denmark Luxembourg Switzerland
Faeroe Islands Macao United Arab Emirates
Finland Marshall Islands United Kingdom
France Martinique United States
French Guiana Mayotte Virgin Islands (U.S.)
French Polynesia Micronesia, Fed. Sts. West Bank and Gaza
Germany Monaco
Greece Netherlands

Back to Research Methods

On external debt          On population projection           On Social Indicators         On Economic timeseries                                                                 On classification of economies