What are developing countries?

The development of a country is measured with statistical indexes such as income per capita (per person) (GDP), life expectancy, the rate of literacy. Countries are categorised as less developed because of their poverty and low average incomes, their lack of good human resources and their low level of economic diversification.

HOT QUESTION: Explain what is likely to be the occupational distribution of the population in a less developed country?

SUGGESTED ANSWER: Most of the workforce is engaged in agriculture and other primary industries, with some in manufacturing and some in service industries. Many of these jobs will be poorly paid.

Developing countries are in general countries which have not achieved a significant degree of industrialization relative to their populations, and which have, in most cases a medium to low standard of living. There is a strong correlation between low income and high population growth.
Other terms sometimes used are less developed countries (LDCs), least economically developed countries (LEDCs)

Characteristics of a less developed economy

These economies are marked by a

  • high birth rate,
  • relatively high death rate and
  • a low life expectancy
  • high population growth
  • High dependency ratio
  • Low GDP per capita.
  • Lower proportion of population is enrolled in education
  • Low level of living standard
  • Poor health due to poor nutrition, lack of access to facilities such as clean water and proper sanitation.
  • Health care provisions are of often poor.

Structure of the Economy

These economies are more reliant on primary sector.
They export certain primary commodities, agricultural goods and low technology products.

Classifications by the IMF and the UN

Advanced economies
      Emerging and developing economies (not least developed)
  Emerging and developing economies (least developed)


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