Is Venezuela Still an Upper-Middle-Income Country? Estimating the GNI per Capita for 2015–2021

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Dec 2022
In the 2022 World Bank (WB) country classifications by income level, Venezuela is classified as an upper-middle-income country. Due to the lack of reliable official economic information from the Venezuelan regime, the WB ranked the country using its gross national income (GNI) of 2013. However, after 2013 Venezuela started to experience one of the largest economic collapses observed in Latin American history. We use three different approaches (the Atlas method, extrapolation, and an adjusted deflator) to obtain consistent and robust estimates of the GNI per capita for Venezuela up to 2021. Our findings reveal that Venezuela has been a lower-middle-income country since 2018 and suggest a 2021 GNI per capita of US$ 1,826 using the Atlas method, US$ 2,070 applying an extrapolation technique, and US$ 2,079 following an adjusted deflator. These results are substantially lower than the US$ 11,970 and US$ 13,080 reported by the WB for 2013 and 2014, respectively. A reconsideration of Venezuela's WB income-level classification could facilitate access to concessional conditions to internationally supported mechanisms.