The world’s poorest countries by continent

Poorest Continents: Poverty rate by country

The poorest countries in the world are currently spread across three continents: The Americas, Africa and Asia. Poverty in underdeveloped countries is higher than in more developed countries. However, this does not mean that there is no inequality on each of the five continents, as we will see below.

Below you will find an index with all the points that we will cover in this article.

Article directory


Several authors, NGOs and international associations agree that poverty in Africa remains the most serious on our planet. The most affected areas of this continent, considered in a situation of extreme pobertysind:

Despite its high poverty, Africa is probably the richest continent in terms of flora and fauna, cultural diversity and history. Unfortunately, it is estimated that more than 300 million people live on less than $1 a day.

The main causes that lead to problems Africa suffers from in the XNUMX. Twenty-first-century amenities include:

  • Health: AIDS and malaria are the diseases with the highest infection rate among the poorest African countries. This means that the current life expectancy is 49.5 years.
  • Colonialism: The plundering of the European great powers in the XNUMX. and XNUMX. Century is one of the causes of poverty that the continent lives today. During this time they took a large part of their natural resources (oil, gas, minerals . ).
  • Wars: The internal civil wars waged on the continent have plunged several countries into a situation of absolute poverty. One example is the war in South Sudan.
  • Education: Educating the youngest children reduces poverty in a country, in addition to proper sex education for the couple, in addition to infant mortality.
  • Famine: hunger in the developing world continues to affect mainly the countries of Africa, where thousands of children under the age of 5 literally die of hunger year after year.

Water scarcity, inaccessibility of clean water and drought are also direct causes of hunger and poverty in Africa. Drought is a particularly serious problem, leading to famine and malnutrition.


The highest percentage of poverty in the Americas is found in Latin America. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) estimates since 2014 that Latin American poverty extends to 28% of the countries that make up this subcontinent.

According to the World Bank, several Latin American countries are included in the list of the most unequal countries:

  • Honduras: 64.5% of the population lives in poverty and 42% in extreme poberty. It is estimated that children receive on average only 4 years of basic education.
  • Brazil: it ranks eighth in the world and third within Latin America. Inequality is greater when the percentage of undeclared wealth is taken into account, with a tax evasion rate of 13.4%.
  • Colombia: Colombia is the most unequal country in terms of health, average salary and education, according to the United Nations (UN) Human Development Index.
  • Guatemala: the most difficult situation is observed in rural areas, where 8 out of 10 inhabitants are poor. The inequality rate is close to 55%.

The gap between the United States and Canada in relation to the rest of Latin America is very wide. In fact, recent figures show that the United States and the European Union (EU) account for nearly 60% of the world's wealth.

The great difference between poor and rich countries, ie the United States and the rest of Latin America, dates back to the period of independence, when, according to various authors, for some the same rights as for others were not respected. , including private property.


The latest data from the European Statistical Office (Eurostat) show that the European countries most affected by poverty are in the south and east of the continent, where poverty and social exclusion go hand in hand.

According to Forbes magazine, those listed below are the 10 richest countries in the world, ranked by GDP, per capita income, level of industrialization, life expectancy and standard, and literacy from highest to lowest:

As we can see, half of the industrialized countries of the world are located in Europe. Of the five richest countries, two are in Northern Europe and three in Central Europe. These are figures that clearly show the economic gap between the south and the north of the continent.

In relation to SpainThe latest Living Conditions Survey (LCA) shows that in recent years the risk of poverty and social exclusion has stagnated, affecting almost 30% of the population, ie more than 13 million people.

La Balkan region It is most affected by poverty and extreme poverty in the European continent. Moldova, Armenia, Ukraine, Georgia and Bosnia are the five poorest countries in Europe. GDP per capita in none of them is 9.800 USD.

The European Central Bank (ECB) estimates that the gap between the countries of Northern Europe and those of the East and South is growing. This divide could lead to many conflicts in the future.


Afghanistan, Nepal, Cambodia and Myanmar (Burma) are the poorest countries on the Asian continent, where GDP per capita is 1.045 USD or less. If Africa did not host the poorest countries, Afghanistan it would be number 1 on the poorest list in the world.

The main causes of poverty in Asia are:

  • Civil wars
  • Radical Islamism
  • Agricultural Economics
  • Dictatorship and lack of freedoms
  • Political corruption

In short, Asia is a continent of great contrasts, with simultaneously the highest and lowest rates of fertility, mortality, migration, etc. to find are. There are also great economic and social differences.

The two clearest examples of this contrast are India and China, two countries that together account for 50% of the total world population living on less than $1 per day. Malnutrition is the main cause of mortality in Asia.

In India According to a recent report published by the United Nations, it has one of the highest percentages of the population in extreme poverty in the world. In 2012 alone, India recorded the world's highest infant mortality rate.


Despite the fact that Oceania is a continent where poverty and needy population have increased in recent decades, Australia y NZ They occupy the positions 2 and 7 in the list of the most developed countries in the world.

This is because the highest poverty rate is almost exclusively concentrated in East Timor or Timor Leste. Although some of the most stunning landscapes in the world can be found here, the truth is that there is a high rate of absolute poverty.

Other countries in Oceania in a poverty situation considering the average income per person are:

  • Micronesia
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Solomon Islands
  • Fiji
  • Vanuatu

East Timor is a country that suffers mainly from child povertyThis is mainly due to the recent war of independence in the country, where thousands of children were recruited as soldiers until 2002. Other alarming causes include prostitution, violence and malnutrition.

Although Australia is the second most developed country in the world, the emergency rate has increased in recent years. A large proportion of these needy people are of foreign origin.

This article has been shared 315 times. We spent many hours gathering this information. If you enjoyed it, please share it: