- GNI per capita: the dollar value of a country’s final annual income divided by the population. It reflects the average income of a country’s residents.
- Percentage of residents with at least some high school education
- Life expectancy
All but two of the 25 countries are in Africa, including the one which topped the list: Niger. The nation has a population of 18.5 million and the average life expectancy within its borders is only 61.4 years – likely because there is only 1 doctor for every 50,000 residents in the country (physician density).
The country’s military is currently gripped in violent conflict with Boko Haram, which has escalated its attacks since March. According to reports the group’s campaign of violence has “killed at least 17,000 people and made more than 2.6 million others homeless.”
Citizens and commerce also battle the region’s climate: Arid conditions, including extended droughts, routinely suffocate the country’s agrarian and subsistence-based economy.
“Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world with minimal government services and insufficient funds to develop its resource base.” (CIA World Factbook)
After winning independence from France in 1960, the country was under single-party military rule until 1991. When public pressure finally brought about democratic reform, political infighting led to a coup in 1996.
There would be at least two more similar political upheavals which led to the suspension of the constitution and dissolution of parliament in February of 2010.