World Bank classifies Sri Lanka as upper-middle income country under new revision

Jul 02, 2019 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has moved up to the upper-middle income category from lower-middle income category under the World Bank’s new country classification by income level.

As of July 1, 2019, under the new revision, Sri Lanka’s Gross National Income (GNI) per capita is 4,060 US dollars, up from 3,840 dollars reported a year earlier.

In March this year, the World Bank reported that it recognizes Sri Lanka as a lower middle-income country with a GDP per capita of 4,073 US dollars (2017).

The World Bank classifies the world’s economies into four income groups — high, upper-middle, lower-middle, and low.

They base this assignment on Gross National Income (GNI) per capita (current US$) calculated using the Atlas method. The classification is updated each year on July 1st.

The classification of countries is determined by two factors:

  1. A country’s GNI per capita, which can change with economic growth, inflation, exchange rates, and population. Revisions to national accounts methods and data can also influence GNI per capita.
  2. Classification threshold: The thresholds are adjusted for inflation annually using the SDR deflator.

Until last year (Fiscal Year 2019), the income classifications had an analytical purpose and did not influence the World Bank’s lending terms.

However, since the last fiscal year, the high-income threshold is also a determining factor for lending rates.

Surcharges are applied for lending rates of countries which have been categorized as high income for two consecutive years.

Updated Thresholds

New thresholds are determined at the start of the World Bank’s fiscal year in July and remain fixed for 12 months regardless of subsequent revisions to estimates.

The thresholds for income classification have increased from last year due to SDR inflation. As of July 1, 2019, the new thresholds for classification by income are:

ThresholdJuly 2019/$ (new)July 2018/$ (old)
Low income< 1,025< 995
Lower-middle income1,026 – 3,995996 – 3,895
Upper-middle income3,996 – 12,3753,896 – 12,055
High income> 12,375> 12,055

Changes in Classification

The following countries are assigned to new income groups:

 New groupOld groupGNI/Capita/$ (2018) as of July 1, 2019GNI/Capita/$ (2017) as of July 1, 2018
ComorosLower-middle incomeLow income1,320760
GeorgiaUpper-middle incomeLower-middle income4,1303,790
KosovoUpper-middle incomeLower-middle income4,2303,890
SenegalLower-middle incomeLow income1,410950
Sri LankaUpper-middle incomeLower-middle income4,0603,840
ZimbabweLower-middle incomeLow income1,790910
ArgentinaUpper-middle incomeHigh income12,37013,040