New World Bank country classifications by income level: 2021-2022

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Updated country income classifications are available here.

The World Bank assigns the world’s economies to four income groups—low, lower-middle, upper-middle, and high-income countries. The classifications are updated each year on July 1 and are based on GNI per capita in current USD (using the Atlas method exchange rates) of the previous year (i.e. 2020 in this case).

The classifications change for two reasons:

  1. In each country, factors such as economic growth, inflation, exchange rates, and population growth influence GNI per capita. Revisions to national accounts methods and data can also have an influence in specific cases. The updated data on GNI per capita data for 2020 can be accessed here.
  2. To keep the income classification thresholds fixed in real terms, they are adjusted annually for inflation. The Special Drawing Rights (SDR) deflator is used, which is a weighted average of the GDP deflators of China, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Euro Area. This year, the thresholds moved up in line with this inflation measure. The new thresholds (for GNI per capita in current USD, Atlas method) are as follows:

 

Group

July 1, 2021 (new)

July 1, 2020 (old)

Low income

Lower-middle income

1,046 – 4,095

1,035 – 4,045

Upper-middle income

4,096 -12,695

4,046 -12,535

High income

> 12,695

> 12,535

 


Changes in classifications

The table below lists the ten economies that are moving to a different category this year. While the World Bank’s income classification reflects the impact of COVID-19 in 2020, three countries are moving to a higher category for different reasons: see comments below.

Economies moving to a higher category

Economy

New group

Old group

2020 GNI/ capita
as of July 1, 2021

2019 GNI/ capita
as of July 1, 2020

Haiti

Lower-middle income

Low income

1,250

790

Moldova

Upper-middle income

Lower-middle income

4,570

4,560

Tajikistan

Lower-middle income

Low income

1,060

1,030


Haiti has published an improved series of national accounts statistics in July 2020, with revised GDP substantially higher than previously published. Moldova's change in classification is due to the incorporation of improved population data reflecting the most recent census. In Tajikistan, although the Covid-19 pandemic negatively impacted household consumption and investment, a large increase in exports of gold led to an increase in GDP and in Atlas GNI per capita.

Economies moving to a lower category

Economy

New group

Old group

2020 GNI/ capita
as of July 1, 2021

2019 GNI/ capita
as of July 1, 2020

Belize

Lower-middle income

Upper-middle income

3,970

4,450

Indonesia

Lower-middle income

Upper-middle Income

3,870

4,050

Iran

Lower-middle income

Upper-middle Income

2,870

5,240

Mauritius

Upper-middle Income

High income

10,230

12,740

Panama

Upper-middle Income

High income

11,880

14,950

Romania

Upper-middle Income

High income

12,570

12,630

Samoa

Lower-middle income

Upper-middle Income

4,070

4,180


In Belize, tourism was severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, explaining the large decline in Atlas GNI per capita. For Iran, Atlas GNI per capita was updated to better account for multiple exchange rates in effect. Panama was highly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, restricting many activities (construction, retail, and tourism-related industries) for several months and leading to a sharp decline in real GDP and Atlas GNI per capita. Indonesia, Mauritius, Romania, and Samoa were very close to classification thresholds in 2019 and all experienced COVID-19 related decreases in Atlas GNI per capita, resulting in lower classifications in 2020.

Venezuela, previously classified as a an upper-middle income country, is now unclassified due to a lack of available data in the recent period.


More information

More detailed information on how the World Bank classifies countries is available here. 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.

These classifications reflect preliminary GNI figures for 2020, which may be revised as countries publish their final estimates. To explore the world by income and region with interactive tables and maps, please visit the World Development Indicators website. For more information, please contact us at [email protected].

 

Authors

Catherine Van Rompaey

Senior Economist, Development Data Group, World Bank

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