Asia is the most populous continent on the planet. Asia, which covers an area of 17.2 million square miles (44.58 square kilometers), accounts for nearly 30 percent of the planet’s land area and 8.7 percent of its surface area.
As of June 2019, it was home to over 4.6 billion people. There are 49 nations in Asia; however, the exact number is debatable. There are also some autonomous areas and other administrative divisions. China, India, Japan, and South Korea are just a few of Asia’s major powers.
These two countries account for 1.44 billion and 1.39 billion of the world’s population. Also, they have two of the world’s greatest economies. India’s economy is the fifth-largest globally and the second-largest in Asia, behind only China.
Other Asian nations are far less developed. Metrics such as GDP per capita, GDP per capita (PPP), and GDP per capita may all assess a country’s financial health. Even though each procedure is somewhat different, the outcomes are quite consistent.
The poorest nations in Asia are always the same 12 countries, regardless of the order in which they appear on the list.
Table of Contents
World Bank, by 2020 GDP per capita, current US$, the 13 poorest countries in Asia.
- Afghanistan ($508.80)
- North Korea ($642.00 [estimated])
- Yemen ($824.12)
- Tajikstan ($859.13)
- Syria ($870.00 [estimated])
- Nepal ($1155.14)
- Kyrgyzstan ($1173.61)
- Pakistan ($1193.73)
- Timor-Leste ($1381.17)
- Myanmar ($1400.21)
- Cambodia ($1512.72)
- Uzbekistan ($1685.76)
- India ($1900.71)
- United States ($63,543.60)
Asia’s 13 poorest nations (by 2020 GNI per capita, Atlas Method)
- Afghanistan ($500)
- Yemen ($940 [estimated])
- Tajikistan ($1060)
- Kyrgyzstan ($1160)
- Nepal ($1190)
- Myanmar ($1260)
- Pakistan ($1280)
- North Korea ($1286 [estimated])
- Cambodia ($1490)
- Uzbekistan ($1670)
- Syria ($1820 [estimated])
- Timor-Leste ($1830)
- India ($1900)
Even though their places in the rankings change, the nations covered in the study remain constant. See the table at the bottom of this page for a complete ranking of Asian nations based on their economic well-being. You might also look at this list of the most impoverished nations in Africa.
Asia’s poorest countries are profiled in this report.
Corruption in government and widespread economic inequalities plague this mountainous country. Immediately after the United States and the United Nations withdrew their soldiers from Afghanistan in mid-2021, the Taliban seized power.
Long-term effects on Afghanistan’s economy have still to be observed. Still, the Taliban’s continued fights with ISIL, its forceful closure of female-owned enterprises, and refusal to allow females to attend school are generally considered circumstances unlikely to lead to a more healthy and stable economy.
Even though North Korea’s leadership is famously secretive and seldom releases official statistics, economists have to depend heavily on expert estimations to determine the country’s true poverty level.
North Korea’s dictatorial dictatorship is blamed for the country’s economic woes. In North Korea, the free market is almost nonexistent. According to estimates, around 60% of North Korea’s population will be living in poverty by 2020.
Poverty in Nepal is caused by an unstable political climate, corruption, and the country’s dependency on agriculture. Despite having a plethora of natural resources, Nepal has not used them or exported them.
Tajikistan has routinely ranked as Asia’s second- or third-worst nation by almost every criteria. Tajikistan’s economy is in a state of stagnation due to a lack of infrastructure. Tajikistan has one of the world’s biggest remittance economies due to the departure of many talented workers.
In addition, the civil war in Tajikistan in the 1990s damaged almost one-fifth of the nation’s schools, preventing children there from receiving an education, which is one of the most important elements in lowering poverty in the country.
To put Yemen in perspective, the United Nations’ Human Development Index (HDI) ranks it as the 168th-least-developed country on Earth. Violence, corruption, and economic mismanagement are blamed for Yemen’s economic woes.
More and more Yemenis are slipping into poverty due to the civil conflict. 79% of the population is classified as poor, and 66% are considered very poor.
Kyrgyzstan is the fifth-worst nation in Asia regarding GDP per capita (current US dollars). Nearly a third of Kyrgyzstan’s population is living below the poverty level. Kyrgyzstan’s reliance on agriculture and the lack of knowledge and resources among its people are the main causes of poverty.
Only cotton and tobacco may be exported from Kyrgyzstan since it has so few valuable natural resources.
Furthermore, a lack of competent banking and financial services in many parts of Kyrgyzstan discourages citizens from investing, hence limiting the country’s economic progress.
There are few human resources in Cambodia, and there is a large gap between the rich and the poor. Although the economy has improved recently, the nation remains poor, and the government has done nothing to construct the essential infrastructure to free millions of its citizens from abject poverty.
Most of Myanmar’s population lives in rural regions (approximately 70% of the population), where roughly 26% are poor.
Poor government planning, internal turmoil, a lack of foreign investment, a high trade imbalance, and a lack of infrastructure and know-how to use the country’s natural resources are the primary causes of the sluggish development of the economy.
Economists have to make do with their best guesses since Syria seldom releases official economic statistics.
Since 2007, Syrians living below the poverty line have increased by 45 percent. The Syrian Civil War, which has damaged medical and educational infrastructures, is primarily to blame for the dramatic increase in poverty.
Around half of the Syrian children are no longer attending school due to the fighting, despite education being one of the greatest routes to escape poverty. In recent years, inflation in Syria has been very high, hitting 121.29 percent in 2014.
It’s hard to believe that 40% of Pakistan’s population is subsistence-level poor, despite its abundant natural riches. Corruption and elitism in government, religious and secular strife and a lack of democratic values are all contributing factors.
Defense expenditures account for over half of all government spending, with just 2.6% of GDP going to education. This has resulted in around half of Pakistan’s population being illiterate.
About 21% of India’s population (269 million people) falls below the poverty line despite the country’s fifth-largest GDP. In India, poverty is caused by illiteracy, gender discrimination, uneven economic distribution, and the country’s ever-growing population.
In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan has emerged as one of the world’s most promising producers of precious metals and agricultural products such as cotton, grapes, uranium, and gold.
Profits from these companies are mostly being funneled to a tiny group of residents because of widespread governmental corruption. Economists believe that corruption and the resulting wealth disparity are key roadblocks to the country’s economic recovery.
In 2002, this half-island country in the South Pacific (which may easily be regarded as part of Oceania rather than Asia) was only beginning to grow as an independent nation.
Many people in Timor-Leste (also known as East Timor) live off the land and depend on subsistence farming even though the country exports a lot of coffee, marble, sandalwood, and oil and gas.
Further stumbling blocks to economic development include the country’s shaky judicial system, low adult literacy rate (slowly rising), and a lackluster communications infrastructure.
Also See: OECD Countries 2022
The following are Africa’s 10 poorest countries:
- Afghanistan ($500)
- Yemen ($940)
- Tajikistan ($1,060)
- Kyrgyzstan ($1,160)
- Nepal ($1,190)
- Myanmar ($1,260)
- Pakistan ($1,280)
- Cambodia ($1,490)
- Uzbekistan ($1,670)
- Syria ($1,820)
|Country||GNI per Capita (Atlas Method, $US)||GNI per Capita, PPP ($int'l.)||Data Year|
|United Arab Emirates||43470||70300||2019|