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Friday, November 21, 2008

Developed country

The term developed country, or advanced country, is used to categorize countries with developed economies in which the tertiary and quaternary sectors of industry dominate. Countries not fitting this definition may be referred to as developing countries.

This level of economic development usually translates into a high income per capita and a high Human Development Index (HDI). Countries with high gross domestic product (GDP) per capita often fit the above description of a developed economy. However, anomalies exist when determining "developed" status by the factor GDP per capita alone.


Modern terms synonymous with the term developed country or advanced country include industrialized country, more developed country (MDC), more economically developed country (MEDC), Global North country, 1st world country, and post-industrial country. The term industrialized country may be somewhat ambiguous, as industrialization is an ongoing process that is hard to define. The term MEDC is one used by modern geographers to specifically describe the status of the countries referred to: more economically developed. The first industrialised country was England, followed by Germany, France, the remainder of the United Kingdom and other Western European countries. According to economists such as Jeffrey Sachs, however, the current divide between the developed and developing world is largely a phenomenon of the 20th century.


Traditionally, Canada and the United States in North America, Japan in Asia, Australia and New Zealand in Oceania, and most countries in Northern Europe and Western Europe have been considered "developed countries". Additionally, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Israel, Malta, Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, and Taiwan, are now widely regarded as "developed countries".

Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, a developing country; however, it is a separate economic entity with its own currency and customs controls, and is recognized as developed. Taiwan has limited diplomatic recognition and is claimed by the People's Republic of China; however it functions as a de facto independent state, and is also recognized as developed.

In the old international reports, the countries of Eastern Europe (including Slovenia which still belongs to "Eastern Europe Group" in the UN institutions) as well as the former Soviet Union (U.S.S.R.) countries (including those in Asia) and Mongolia, were not included under either developed or developing regions, but rather were referred to as "countries in transition"; however they are now widely regarded as "developing countries" (except for Slovenia, see above).

Human Development Index

The UN HDI is a statistical measure that gauges a country's level of human development. While there is a strong correlation between having a high HDI score and a prosperous economy, the UN points out that the HDI accounts for more than income or productivity. Unlike GDP per capita or per capita income, the HDI takes into account how income is turned "into education and health opportunities and therefore into higher levels of human development." A few examples are Italy and the United States. Despite a relatively large difference in GDP per capita, both countries rank roughly equal in term of overall human development.[8] Since 1980, Norway (2001-2005), Japan (1991 and 1993), Canada (1985, 1992 and 1994-2000), Iceland (2006 and 2007) and Switzerland (1980) have had the highest HDI score. Countries with a score of over 0.800 are considered to have a "high" standard of human development. The top 30 countries have scores ranging from 0.894 in Brunei to 0.968 in Iceland. All countries included in the UN study on the IMF list had a high HDI. Several small countries, such as Andorra, Liechtenstein and Macau were not reviewed by the United Nations. Thus, these countries have not received an official HDI score.

All countries listed by IMF or CIA as "advanced" (as of 2007) - possess an HDI over 0.9 (as of 2004). All countriespossessing an HDI of 0.9 and over (as of 2004) - are also listed by IMF or CIA as "advanced" (as of 2007). Thus, all "advanced economies" (as of 2007) are characterized by an HDI score of 0.9 or higher (as of 2004).

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