What are 'Middle-Income Countries (MICs)'

Middle-income countries (MICs) are nations with a per-capita gross national income in 2012 between $1,036 and $12,615. Middle-income countries (MICs) are one of the income categories that the World Bank uses to classify economies for operational and analytical purposes.

The World Bank classifies every economy as low, middle or high income. The World Bank uses GNI per capita as the basis for this classification because it views GNI as a broad measure that is considered to be the single best indicator of economic capacity and progress. Low-income and middle-income economies are collectively referred to as developing economies.

BREAKING DOWN 'Middle-Income Countries (MICs)'

MICs are a very diverse group by size, population and income level, ranging from tiny nations with very small populations such as Belize and the Marshall Islands to three of the BRIC giants – Brazil, India and China. China and India together hold nearly one-third of humanity and continue to be increasingly influential players in the global economy.

The diverse nature of the 103 MICs means that the challenges facing many of them are quite different. For nations in the lower-middle-income category, the biggest issue may be providing its citizens with essential services such as water and electricity. For the economies in the upper-middle-income category, the biggest challenges may be curbing corruption, improving governance, etc.

MICs are essential for continued global economic growth and stability. According to the World Bank, sustainable growth and development in MICs has positive spillovers to the rest of the world. Examples are poverty reduction, international financial stability and cross-border global issues including climate change, sustainable energy development, food and water security, and international trade.

As of 2012, there were 103 MICs, further subdivided into 48 lower-middle-income economies (GNI between $1,036 and $4,085) and 55 upper-middle-income economies (GNI between $4,086 and $12,615). MICs have a combined population of 5 billion, or over 70% of the world’s 7 billion people, and include 75% of the world’s poor. Representing about one-third of global GDP, MICs are a major engine of global economic growth.

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