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Rich and Poor Countries

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Categories of Development

Rich and poor countries

On one side the developed countries of the First World, the rich industrialized Nations of the world and on the other side the "developing countries", the Third World, with low average income.

"The "developing" part of "developing country" may be considered euphemistic or perhaps optimistic, as many of the poorest countries are hardly developing at all."

Classification of the Countries of the World

A Typology
Countries are often loosely placed into four categories of development:
1. Developed countries ( Canada, United States, European Union members, Japan, Israel, Australia, etc.)
2. Countries with an economy consistently and fairly strongly developing over a longer period (China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Costa Rica, Mexico, Egypt, much of South America, etc.)
3. Countries with a patchy record of development (most countries in Africa, Central America, and the Caribbean excepting Jamaica (category 2); much of the Arab world falls in this category)
4. Countries with long-term civil war or large-scale breakdown of rule of law or non-development-oriented dictatorship ("failed states") (e.g. Somalia, Sudan, Burma, perhaps North Korea)

The World Bank's criterion for classifying economies of countries is gross national income (GNI) per capita. Based on its GNI per capita, every economy is classified as:
- Countries with low-income economies
- Countries with lower-middle-income economies
- Countries with upper-middle-income economies
- Countries with high-income economies.
Country List

Third World today

The often used term "Third World" today mostly refers to underdeveloped or better developing countries.
The less-developed or least-developed regions (the standard United Nations designation) stand in contrast to "more-developed regions" which comprise North America, Japan, Europe and Australia-New Zealand.
Less-developed regions comprise almost all regions of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia, and the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia.
"Least developed countries" for example are Afghanistan, Chad, Ethiopia, Uzbekistan, Yemen, and Zambia.

List of Least Developed Countries (LDCs)
The poorest countries in the world.

Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs)
List of countries with serious constraints on the overall socio-economic development, because of the lack of territorial access to the sea.

Human Development Index
Countries with low human development according to the UN Human Development Index.

 Countries by Gross National Income (GNI)
A list of countries and regions in comparison of their gross national income based on purchasing-power-parity (PPP) per capita in int'l Dollars.

 Sovereign Debt and Credit Rating of Countries
How indepted are countries.

Additional Information

External Links:
UN Criteria for determining the "Least Developed Countries"

Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries

UN World and regional groupings

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