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HDI 2021

0.800

0.820

0.840

0.860

0.880

0.900

0.920

0.940

0.960

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Developed Countries 2024

The term "developed country" is often used to describe a sovereign state that possesses a mature economy and a technologically advanced infrastructure—however, this description fails to convey the full breadth and depth of the term. The United Nations Development Programme measures human development in the world's countries by tracking dozens of data points across a vast range of sectors, ranging from GDP per capita to literacy rate, life expectancy, political stability, and access to electricity. These points are then collated into a single score, the annual Human Development Index (HDI).

The HDI ranges from 0.000 (lowest development) to 1.000 (highest development). Countries which score between 1.000 and 0.800 are classified as developed. Countries whose HDI score falls below that are classified as developing, least-developed, or (informally) underdeveloped. HDI can be used to determine the best countries to live in, as more developed countries typically offer their residents a higher quality of life.

Top 10 Developed Countries (2021 HDI):*

Country
HDI 2021
Switzerland0.962
Norway0.961
Iceland0.959
Hong Kong0.952
Australia0.951
Denmark0.948
Sweden0.947
Ireland0.945
Germany0.942
Netherlands0.941

Why some sources differ on what constitutes a "developed country"

The term "developed country" is often used to describe countries with developed economies or developed markets, which can lead to scenarios in which a given country is considered developed in one sense by one institution, but not in another sense by another institution. For example, the United Nations classifies Turkey as a developed country thanks to its 2021 HDI of 0.838 (Turkey is also a member of the G20, a group composed of countries with the largest economies in the world).

However, organizations including Dow Jones and the Financial Times Stock Exchange Group (FTSE) classify Turkey as an emerging market rather than a developed market. Similarly, the CIA World Factbook follows the World Bank classification system, in which Turkey is classified as an upper-middle income country, which corresponds to a developing economy, rather than a high-income country, which would classify as developed.

Download Table Data

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Country
HDI 2021
HDI 2020
HDI 2019
Switzerland0.9620.9560.962
Norway0.9610.9590.961
Iceland0.9590.9570.960
Hong Kong0.9520.9490.952
Australia0.9510.9470.941
Denmark0.9480.9470.946
Sweden0.9470.9420.947
Ireland0.9450.9430.942
Germany0.9420.9440.948
Netherlands0.9410.9390.943
Finland0.9400.9380.939
Singapore0.9390.9390.943
Belgium0.9370.9280.936
New Zealand0.9370.9360.937
Canada0.9360.9310.937
Liechtenstein0.9350.9330.940
Luxembourg0.9300.9240.927
United Kingdom0.9290.9240.935
Japan0.9250.9230.924
South Korea0.9250.9220.923
United States0.9210.9200.930
Israel0.9190.9170.921
Slovenia0.9180.9130.921
Malta0.9180.9110.915
Austria0.9160.9130.919
United Arab Emirates0.9110.9120.920
Spain0.9050.8990.908
France0.9030.8980.905
Cyprus0.8960.8940.897
Italy0.8950.8890.897
Estonia0.8900.8920.896
Czech Republic0.8890.8920.897
Greece0.8870.8860.889
Poland0.8760.8760.881
Saudi Arabia0.8750.8700.873
Lithuania0.8750.8790.884
Bahrain0.8750.8770.882
Portugal0.8660.8630.867
Latvia0.8630.8710.871
Croatia0.8580.8550.861
Andorra0.8580.8480.873
Chile0.8550.8520.861
Qatar0.8550.8540.859
San Marino0.8530.8450.862
Slovakia0.8480.8570.862
Hungary0.8460.8490.853
Argentina0.8420.8400.852
Turkey0.8380.8330.842
Montenegro0.8320.8260.837
Kuwait0.8310.8220.839
Russia0.8290.8300.845
Brunei0.8290.8300.830
Romania0.8210.8240.832
Oman0.8160.8270.839
Bahamas0.8120.8150.816
Kazakhstan0.8110.8140.819
Trinidad and Tobago0.8100.8180.821
Costa Rica0.8090.8160.819
Uruguay0.8090.8210.821
Belarus0.8080.8070.817
Panama0.8050.8010.817
Malaysia0.8030.8060.810
Serbia0.8020.8040.811
Georgia0.8020.8020.810
Mauritius0.8020.8040.817
Thailand0.8000.8020.804
World0.8810.8800.886
showing: 66 rows

Which are the most developed countries?

The five most developed countries are Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Hong Kong and Australia.

How many countries are considered developed?

As of the time of this writing, a total of 37 countries fit all of the four criteria used to determine if a country is developed or not.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sources