UN DESA | DPAD | Development Policy Analysis Division

LDC criteria

Updated October 2014
Disponibles en français: Les critères d’identification des pays les moins avancès

What is the income criterion?

The income criterion is measured by the gross national income (GNI) per capita. It is calculated from national accounts data and provides information on the income status of a country.

Data sources and methodology

What are the income thresholds?

The threshold for inclusion is based on a three-year average of the level of GNI per capita, which the World Bank uses for identifying low-income countries. The threshold for inclusion in the LDC category will be $1,035 in the 2015 review.

The threshold for graduation is set at 20 per cent above the inclusion threshold. It will be $1,242 in the 2015 review.

The income-only graduation threshold (which enables a country to be eligible for graduation even if none of the other two criteria is met) is twice the normal graduation threshold. It will be $2,484 in the 2015 review.

What is the human asset index?

The human asset index (HAI) is a measure of the level of human capital. It consists of four indicators, two on health and nutrition and two on education:

Human Asset Index

(Data sources and methodology are available by clicking on the indicator names)

The original data for each variable are converted into index numbers using a max-min procedure.

What are the HAI thresholds?

At the 2012 triennial review, the inclusion threshold was set at 60. This value corresponded to the third quartile in the distribution of HAI values of a reference group, which consisted of all LDCs and other low-income countries. The graduation threshold was set at 66 (10 per cent higher). In 2014, the CDP decided to permanently fix the thresholds at their 2012 levels, with adjustments being made for changes in data sources and indicators.

What is the economic vulnerability index?

The economic vulnerability index (EVI) measures the structural vulnerability of countries to exogenous economic and environmental shocks.

The EVI contains eight indicators, which are grouped into various sub-indices.

Human Asset Index Agricultural Instability Natural Disasters Trade Shock Environment Agriculture Merchandise Remoteness Population

The numbers in parenthesis show the weight of each component in the overall EVI.

Information on data source and methodology is available by clicking on the indicator names.

A for the HAI, original data for each variable are converted into index numbers using a max-min procedure.

What are the EVI thresholds?

At the 2012 triennial review, the inclusion threshold was set at 36. This value corresponded to the first quartile in the distribution of EVI values of a reference group, which consisted of all LDCs and other low-income countries.The graduation threshold was set at 32 (10 per cent lower). In 2014, the CDP decided to permanently fix the thresholds at their 2012 levels, with adjustments being made for changes in data sources and indicators.

More information

Step-by-step calculation of the LDC criteria for the Lao People's Democratic Republic, prepared by UNDP.