Developed country

A developed country enjoys a relatively high standard of living through a strong high-technology diversified economy. Most countries with a high per capita gross domestic product (GDP) are considered developed countries. Some countries, however, have achieved a (usually temporarily) high GDP through natural resource exploitation (e.g., Nauru through phosphorus extraction) without developing the diverse industrial and service-based economy necessary for "developed" status.

Synonyms include industrialised countries, more economically developed countries (MEDC) and the First World. Other terms sometimes used to describe the developed/developing country dichotomy are first world/third world (the term second world referred to communist states during the Cold War); North/South; and industrialized countries/non-industrialized countries. The term Western countries has a similar meaning, but its connotations restrict its usage, especially in Asia.

Different observers and theorists often see different reasons for why certain countries (and not others) enjoy a high level of economic development. Many argue that economic development requires some combination of representative government (or democracy), a free market economic model, and a general lack of corruption. Some hold that rich countries grew wealthy by exploitation of poorer countries in the past, through imperialism and colonialism, or in the present, through the process of globalization.

According to the United Nations Statistics Division:

In the United Nations system there is no established convention for the designation of "developed" and "developing" countries or areas. In common practice, Japan in Asia, Canada and the United States in North America, Australia and New Zealand in Oceania, and Europe are considered "developed" regions or areas. In international trade statistics, the Southern African Customs Union is also treated as a developed region and Israel as a developed country; and countries of eastern Europe and the former U.S.S.R. countries in Europe are not included under either developed or developing regions.

Developed countries

Organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Central Intelligence Agency, generally agree that the group of developed countries include:

The following European Union member states:

The following non-EU European countries:

The following non-European countries:

Other cases

  • Some organizations consider the remaining countries of the European Union — those added in 2004, especially Cyprus, Malta, and Slovenia — among the developed countries, but these mostly former-Communist countries are rather newly industrialized nations and some of them (such as Latvia, Lithuania and Poland) remain significantly less affluent than EU-15 countries. All European Union members, however, have a GDP per capita greater than the global average.
  • South Korea, another relatively newly industrialized country, does not consider itself as developed. This has led to accusations that it prefers to avoid the obligations placed upon developed nations, and some organizations do not consider it developed.
  • Singapore arguably has the least representative government of any high income country, and consequently many lists exclude it.
  • South Africa and Turkey are considered developed by some sources; however their GDP per capita clearly places them among the developing countries.


See also

es:Pases desarrollados fi:teollisuusmaa ja:先進国 nl:ontwikkelde landen zh:已開發國家


  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools