Third World Countries 2019

What is a third world country? Recently, third world countries can be defined by high poverty rates, economic instability, and lack of basic human resources compared to the rest of the world.

The term “Third World countries” was first used during the Cold War. This term was used to describe countries that were not aligned with the Communist Bloc or NATO or that were neutral. This term was first used to categorize countries into three groups based on their politics and economics.

During the Cold War, the United States, Canada, South Kora, Japan, and Western European nations and allies were categorized as First World countries. Second World countries included China, Cuba, the Soviet Union and their allies. Third World countries typically had colonial pasts in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Oceania.

After the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the terminology of the “three worlds” has changed somewhat. Today, the term Third World is used to describe a country that is not developed as much as other countries and faces economic, social, political, environmental and other issues. This has led to some confusion as to how the term was originally used. For example, there were several European countries that were not aligned with NATO or the Communist Bloc that are quite prosperous today. Going by the historical definition, nations including Finland, Sweden, Ireland and Switzerland were Third World countries. Based on the definition that is used today, these would not be considered Third World countries. Instead, what many now interpret “Third World” to mean encompasses economically poor and non-industrialized countries, as well as newly industrialized countries.

The use of the term “Third World” is being used less frequently because of the confusion about its definition. Instead, it is being replaced with terms including least developed countries, developing countries and the Global South. The Least Developed Countries, or LDCs, are based on United Nations data that have the lowest socioeconomic development and Human Development Index ratings. These countries have weaknesses in areas including nutrition, education and literacy, have economic vulnerabilities, and have widespread poverty.

As of 2018, there are several LDCs. These include in alphabetical order:

The list is even larger of countries classified as “developing countries.” These countries (in alphabetical order) include:

There are many countries around the world classified as a developing country. This includes (in alphabetical order):

Flag Name Population 2019 Area Growth Rate
Bangladesh163,046,161147,570 km²1.03%
Ethiopia112,078,7301,104,300 km²2.61%
Tanzania58,005,463945,087 km²3.00%
Myanmar54,045,420676,578 km²0.63%
Uganda44,269,594241,550 km²3.61%
Sudan42,813,2381,886,068 km²2.42%
Afghanistan38,041,754652,230 km²2.34%
Angola31,825,2951,246,700 km²3.30%
Mozambique30,366,036801,590 km²2.95%
Yemen29,161,922527,968 km²2.33%
Nepal28,608,710147,181 km²1.83%
Madagascar26,969,307587,041 km²2.69%
Niger23,310,7151,267,000 km²3.87%
Burkina Faso20,321,378272,967 km²2.89%
Mali19,658,0311,240,192 km²3.04%
Malawi18,628,747118,484 km²2.68%
Zambia17,861,030752,612 km²2.94%
Cambodia16,486,542181,035 km²1.46%
Senegal16,296,364196,722 km²2.79%
Chad15,946,8761,284,000 km²3.03%
Somalia15,442,905637,657 km²2.90%
Guinea12,771,246245,857 km²2.88%
Rwanda12,626,95026,338 km²2.64%
Benin11,801,151112,622 km²2.75%
Burundi11,530,58027,834 km²3.18%
Haiti11,263,07727,750 km²1.26%
South Sudan11,062,113619,745 km²0.79%
Togo8,082,36656,785 km²2.45%
Sierra Leone7,813,21571,740 km²2.13%
Laos7,169,455236,800 km²1.53%
Liberia4,937,374111,369 km²2.46%
Central African Republic4,745,185622,984 km²1.69%
Mauritania4,525,6961,030,700 km²2.78%
Eritrea3,497,117117,600 km²1.28%
Gambia2,347,70610,689 km²2.97%
Lesotho2,125,26830,355 km²0.80%
Guinea Bissau1,920,92236,125 km²2.49%
Djibouti973,56023,200 km²1.53%
Comoros850,8861,862 km²2.23%
Bhutan763,09238,394 km²1.15%
Solomon Islands669,82328,896 km²2.60%
Vanuatu299,88212,189 km²2.46%
Sao Tome And Principe215,056964 km²1.91%
Kiribati117,606811 km²1.52%
Tuvalu11,64626 km²1.20%