Each year on July 1, The World Bank revises the classification of the world’s economies based on estimates of gross national income (GNI) per capita for the previous year. The updated GNI per capita estimates are also used as input to the Bank’s operational classification of economies, which determines their lending eligibility. As of 1 July 2013, the World Bank income classifications by GNI per capita are as follows:

  • Low income: $1,035 or less
  • Lower middle income: $1,036 to $4,085
  • Upper middle income: $4,086 to $12,615
  • High income: $12,616 or more

Low- and middle-income economies are sometimes referred to as developing economies. The term is used for convenience; 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.

Changes in classification

The classification tables include all World Bank members, plus all other economies with populations of more than 30,000. The major change for 2013 classification (FY14) is Russian Federation moving to high income. Chile, Lithuania, and Uruguay also become high income for the first time (Latvia had previously been high income in FY11; and Antigua and Barbuda in FY10), while Hungary slips back to upper middle income after being high income since FY09. It is also noteworthy that a major revision to Iraq's data moves them up to upper middle income. The following table summarizes the changes in income classification of countries from last year:

Economy

Old group

New group

Albania

Lower middle

Upper middle

Antigua and Barbuda

Upper middle

High

Belize

Lower middle

Upper middle

Chile

Upper middle

High

Fiji

Lower middle

Upper middle

Hungary

High

Upper middle

Iraq

Lower middle

Upper middle

Latvia

Upper middle

High

Lithuania

Upper middle

High

Marshall Islands

Lower middle

Upper middle

Mauritania

Low

Lower middle

Russian Federation

Upper middle

High

South Sudan

Lower middle

Low

Tonga

Lower middle

Upper middle

Uruguay

Upper middle

High

Tables showing 2012 GDPGNIGNI per capita and Population data are now available as part of the World Bank’s Open Data catalog. Note that these are preliminary estimates and may be revised. Country classifications are determined once a year and remain fixed, regardless of subsequent revisions to their estimates of their GNI per capita. These estimates have not been reconciled with the historical time-series included in the WDI database. Revisions to this database, including 2012 estimates of national accounts aggregates, will be released in September 2013, December 2013, and April 2014.

For more information please visit the World Bank country classification site or visit the country classifications section of the knowledge base.

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