First World Countries 2019

The term “First World” was first used during the Cold War. This term was originally used to describe countries that were aligned with NATO and were opponents of the Soviet Union. However, upon the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the term has changed slightly. The definition of “First World countries” today is used to describe a set of countries around the world with several similar and distinctive characteristics.

First World countries have laws in place and have a high-functioning democracy. There is little political risk within these countries. The economy of a First World country is stable, and there is a high standard of living. These countries have capitalist economies. In order to be classified as a First World country, several factors are considered. The gross domestic product and the gross national product of the economy are evaluated. Life expectant, literacy rates and data from the Human Development Index are also taken into consideration.

Going back to the early history of the term, countries that were aligned with the U.S., were member states of NATO, former British Colonies that were developed, and neutral countries that were industrialized and developed were considered to be First World countries. Broken down, NATO-aligned countries immediately following the Cold War were Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, West Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States.

Neutral countries that were developed included Austria, Finland, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland. Countries that were aligned with the United States included Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

Today, CIA The World Factbook has a list of developed countries that are considered to be known as First World, high-income countries. The countries on the list generally have a per capita GDP exceeding $15,000. There are a total of 31 countries on this list as of July 2018.

Country Human Development Index Population 2019
Norway0.9535,378,857
Switzerland0.9448,591,365
Australia0.93925,203,198
Ireland0.9384,882,495
Germany0.93683,517,045
Iceland0.935339,031
Sweden0.93310,036,379
Singapore0.9325,804,337
Netherlands0.93117,097,130
Denmark0.9295,771,876
Canada0.92637,411,047
United States0.924329,064,917
United Kingdom0.92267,530,172
Finland0.925,532,156
New Zealand0.9174,783,063
Belgium0.91611,539,328
Japan0.909126,860,301
Austria0.9088,955,102
Luxembourg0.904615,729
Israel0.9038,519,377
France0.90165,129,728
Slovenia0.8962,078,654
Spain0.89146,736,776
Italy0.8860,550,075
Estonia0.8711,325,648
Greece0.8710,473,455
Cyprus0.8691,198,575
Portugal0.84710,226,187
Turkey0.79183,429,615