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Country Classification

New country classifications by income level: 2018-2019

World Bank Data Team's picture
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Updated country income classifications for the World Bank’s 2019 fiscal year are available here.

The World Bank assigns the world's economies into four income groups — high, upper-middle, lower-middle, and low. We base this assignment on GNI per capita calculated using the Atlas method. The units for this measure and for the thresholds is current US Dollars.

At the Bank, these classifications are used to aggregate data for groups of similar countries. The income-category of a country is not one of the factors used that influence lending decisions.

Each year on July 1st, we update the classifications. They change for two reasons:

1. In each country, factors such as income growth, inflation, exchange rates, and population change, influence GNI per capita.

2. To keep the dollar thresholds which separate the classifications fixed in real terms, we adjust them for inflation.

The data for the first adjustment come from estimates of 2017 GNI per capita which are now available. This year, the thresholds have moved down slightly because of low price inflation and the strengthening of the US dollar. Click here for information about how the World Bank classifies countries.

Updated Thresholds

New thresholds are determined at the start of the Bank’s fiscal year in July and remain fixed for 12 months regardless of subsequent revisions to estimates. As of July 1 2018, the new thresholds for classification by income are:

Threshold GNI/Capita (current US$)
Low-income < 995
Lower-middle income 996 - 3,895
Upper-middle income 3,896 - 12,055
High-income > 12,055

Changes in Classification

The following countries have new income groups:

Country Old group New group
Argentina Upper-middle High-income
Armenia Lower-middle Upper-middle
Croatia Upper-middle High-income
Guatemala Lower-middle Upper-middle
Jordan Lower-middle Upper-middle
Panama Upper-middle High-income
Syrian Arab Rep. Lower-middle Low-income
Tajikistan Lower-middle Low-income
Yemen Rep. Lower-middle Low-income

The country and lending groups page provides a complete list of economies classified by income, region, and lending status and links to previous years’ classifications. The classification tables include all World Bank members, plus all other economies with populations of more than 30,000. The term country, used interchangeably with economy, does not imply political independence but refers to any territory for which authorities report separate social or economic statistics.

Tables showing 2017 GNI, GNI per capita, GDP, GDP PPP, and Population data are also available as part of the World Bank's Open Data Catalog. Note that these are preliminary estimates and may be revised. For more information, please contact us at [email protected]

Reviewing the World Bank’s Analytical Country Classification: An Update

Shaida Badiee's picture

On July 1, we updated the analytical country classification, which groups economies of the world into four categories based on 2012 GNI per capita estimates: low income, lower-middle income, upper-middle income, and high income. This has prompted some questions related to the review of this classification scheme, which we announced late last year and for which we solicited and received your feedback. I thought it would be useful to post an update.