Developing Countries: Definition & Examples

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
This lesson will teach you the general and technical definitions of a developing country, as well as some factors that may influence whether or not a country is considered to be one.

Definition of a Developing Country

A developing country is one where most of its people live on a lot less money and with a lot fewer public services than those in an industrialized nation. Let me give you an example for comparison's sake. In the United States of America, a highly industrialized and developed nation, a person earns, roughly speaking, well over $70/day. In a developing country, a person may earn less than $2 per day (in U.S. dollars), and some earn even less than $1.25 per day. That's an astounding difference!

A more technical definition of a developing country may be seen as a nation where the Gross National Income (GNI) per capita per year is $11,905 or less. Again, for comparison's sake, a country like Afghanistan, a developing nation, sits at $680/person/year, while in the U.S. the number is $55,200/person/year.

Food, Technology, & Sanitation

Of course, daily earnings or GNI per capita aren't the only standards by which developing countries are defined. Another aspect of a developing country is the geographical location in which the majority of the population finds itself. Is it in cities or in rural areas? Countries with high numbers of rural populations, and thus commonly large agricultural populations, tend to be developing nations, like Cambodia. Another way to identify a developing nation is one where a large proportion of people go hungry on a daily basis. Burundi is a good example of this, as many in this nation are undernourished.

Nations that have little technological innovation and poor education are also developing. Niger is one such country. It is considered to have one of the lowest, if not the lowest, education levels in the world. Developed nations are known for good healthcare systems and excellent public sanitation and hygiene. Not all countries are known for this. India is one such example, as it has severe issues with basic public sanitation not commonly seen in developed nations. For example, many people in India refuse to use working toilets, even if available, and use public land or even waterways instead as their bathroom.

Land Mass, Resources, & Conflict

A further way to look at developing nations is cohesion. Countries that are small in landmass and also spread out at the same time, like some island nations, find it far more difficult to build a stable economy, as their resources may be small in quantity and hard to pull together from many places. A great example of this is the Federal States of Micronesia, an island nation made up of over 600 small islands spread out over 1,000,000 square miles of ocean, while only containing about 270 square miles of actual land.

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