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Developing Countries 2024

Although exact definitions vary, a developing country is generally defined as one whose industrial and/or economic development has not yet reached full maturity. This shortcoming leads directly or indirectly to social, political, economic, and environmental challenges that significantly impede quality of life in that country.

Also known as low-income, underdeveloped countries, and/or middle-income countries—a reference to their stunted economies—developing countries are less industrially advanced than countries classified as high-income, or developed countries. The most challenged among them are often given the sub-classification of least developed countries.

How do we know if a country is a "developing" country?

The United Nations uses a metric called the Human Development Index (HDI) to determine whether a country is fully developed or still developing. The HDI considers a broad range of factors, including economic growth, life expectancy, health, education, and quality of life. The highest possible HDI score is a 1.0, and any country that scores less than .80 is considered developing. Of the 191 countries analyzed in the 2021/22 Human Development Report, 125 scored below .80 and were considered developing (see table that follows text).

Another frequently used method of determining whether a country is developed or developing is to examine that country's nominal gross national income (GNI) per capita, which is a useful at-a-glance tool to estimate a country's overall standard of living. Countries whose nominal GNI rises above a certain threshold (which changes slightly each year) are classified as developed, while those whose GNI falls below that amount are considered still developing.

For example, for 2022, the World Bank classifies countries and territories whose GNI is $12,696 or higher as High Income economies. Anything below that number would be considered a developing country (though World Bank prefers the terms Upper-Middle Income, Lower-Middle Income, and Low Income). In 2022, 80 of the 217 countries and territories tracked by World Bank qualified as High Income, while 137 qualified as developing economies/countries.

It is worth noting that these two methods are not always entirely in sync with one another. For example, the U.N. would consider Argentina a developed country thanks to its 2019 HDI of .830, which is above the .800 threshold. However, World Bank classifies Argentina as Upper-Middle Income and still developing based upon its 2020 GNI of $9070, which is well below the $12,695 dividing line.

Difficulties faced by developing countries

Many developing countries encounter similar challenges, including income inequality and/or widespread poverty, low education and literacy levels, inadequate infrastructure, and government corruption. Their energy production can be inadequate and they may experience higher rates of violence against women. They may even struggle with health risks such as decreased access to safe water and sanitation, high levels of pollution, and an increased percentage of people with infectious diseases. The United Nations and many other aid organizations have established programs to help developing countries overcome these and other social, political, economic, and environmental challenges they face.

Download Table Data

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Country
HDI Tier
HDI 2022
HDI 2021
World Bank Classification
Gni Per Capita (Atlas) (current US$)
United StatesVery High0.9270.921High income$76,770
RussiaVery High0.8210.818Upper middle income $12,750
JapanVery High0.9200.920High income $42,440
TurkeyVery High0.8550.841Upper middle income
GermanyVery High0.9500.948High income $54,030
ThailandVery High0.8030.797Upper middle income$7,230
United KingdomVery High0.9400.931High income $49,240
FranceVery High0.9100.906High income $45,290
ItalyVery High0.9060.899High income $38,200
South KoreaVery High0.9290.926Low income $36,190
SpainVery High0.9110.904High income$32,090
ArgentinaVery High0.8490.844Upper middle income $11,590
PolandVery High0.8810.876High income $18,900
CanadaVery High0.9350.934High income$52,960
Saudi ArabiaVery High0.8750.867High income$27,680
MalaysiaVery High0.8070.798Upper middle income $11,830
AustraliaVery High0.9460.949High income $60,840
KazakhstanVery High0.8020.801Upper middle income $9,620
ChileVery High0.8600.856High income $15,360
RomaniaVery High0.8270.825High income $15,570
NetherlandsVery High0.9460.941High income $60,230
BelgiumVery High0.9420.938High income $53,890
SwedenVery High0.9520.949High income$63,500
Czech RepublicVery High0.8950.891High income $26,100
GreeceVery High0.8930.887High income $21,810
PortugalVery High0.8740.865High income $25,950
HungaryVery High0.8510.846High income $19,010
United Arab EmiratesVery High0.9370.931High income$49,160
BelarusVery High0.8010.801Upper middle income $7,210
IsraelVery High0.9150.911High income $55,140
AustriaVery High0.9260.920High income $55,720
SwitzerlandVery High0.9670.965High income$95,490
Hong KongVery High0.9560.959High income $54,370
SerbiaVery High0.8050.804Upper middle income$9,290
SingaporeVery High0.9490.942High income$67,200
DenmarkVery High0.9520.947High income $73,520
SlovakiaVery High0.8550.852High income
FinlandVery High0.9420.941High income $54,930
NorwayVery High0.9660.964High income $95,520
New ZealandVery High0.9390.936High income $49,090
Costa RicaVery High0.8060.804Upper middle income $12,920
IrelandVery High0.9500.946High income $79,730
OmanVery High0.8190.810High income $20,020
PanamaVery High0.8200.813High income $16,960
KuwaitVery High0.8470.836High income $40,600
CroatiaVery High0.8780.867High income $19,600
GeorgiaVery High0.8140.809Upper middle income $5,600
UruguayVery High0.8300.814High income$18,000
QatarVery High0.8750.864High income $70,120
LithuaniaVery High0.8790.875High income $23,870
SloveniaVery High0.9260.916High income$29,590
LatviaVery High0.8790.865High income $21,850
Trinidad and TobagoVery High0.8140.804High income$16,190
BahrainVery High0.8880.884High income $27,720
EstoniaVery High0.8990.890High income $27,120
CyprusVery High0.9070.901High income $31,520
LuxembourgVery High0.9270.927High income $89,200
MontenegroVery High0.8440.840Upper middle income $10,480
MaltaVery High0.9150.912High income $32,860
BruneiVery High0.8230.824High income $31,410
BahamasVery High0.8200.799High income $31,520
IcelandVery High0.9590.957High income$68,660
BarbadosVery High0.8090.803High income $19,490
SeychellesVery High0.8020.795High income$12,010
Antigua and BarbudaVery High0.8260.819High income $19,050
AndorraVery High0.8840.855High income $44,350
Saint Kitts and NevisVery High0.8380.832High income $20,020
LiechtensteinVery High0.9420.936$116,600
San MarinoVery High0.8670.853High income $47,120
IndiaMedium0.6440.633Lower middle income $2,390
BangladeshMedium0.6700.662Lower middle income $2,820
KenyaMedium0.6010.596Lower middle income $2,170
MyanmarMedium0.6080.599Lower middle income $1,270
UgandaMedium0.5500.545Low income$930
IraqMedium0.6730.667Upper middle income $5,270
MoroccoMedium0.6980.688Lower middle income $3,670
AngolaMedium0.5910.590Lower middle income $1,880
GhanaMedium0.6020.600Lower middle income $2,380
NepalMedium0.6010.591Lower middle income $1,340
VenezuelaMedium0.6990.690$13,010
CameroonMedium0.5870.581Lower middle income $1,640
SyriaMedium0.5570.558Low income$560
ZambiaMedium0.5690.565Lower middle income$1,240
GuatemalaMedium0.6290.630Upper middle income $5,350
CambodiaMedium0.6000.596Lower middle income $1,690
ZimbabweMedium0.5500.549Lower middle income$1,710
BoliviaMedium0.6980.691Lower middle income $3,490
HaitiMedium0.5520.551Lower middle income$1,610
HondurasMedium0.6240.620Lower middle income$2,750
Papua New GuineaMedium0.5680.564Lower middle income $2,700
TajikistanMedium0.6790.677Lower middle income$1,210
LaosMedium0.6200.615Lower middle income $2,310
NicaraguaMedium0.6690.665Lower middle income$2,090
El SalvadorMedium0.6740.669Upper middle income $4,720
NamibiaMedium0.6100.616Upper middle income $5,010
GabonMedium0.6930.687Upper middle income$7,530
Equatorial GuineaMedium0.6500.647Upper middle income $5,240
Timor LesteMedium0.5660.574Lower middle income
EswatiniMedium0.6100.612Lower middle income $3,750
ComorosMedium0.5860.585$1,610
BhutanMedium0.6810.677Lower middle income $3,290
Solomon IslandsMedium0.5620.564Lower middle income$2,210
SurinameMedium0.6900.689Upper middle income$4,970
Cape VerdeMedium0.6610.650Lower middle income $3,950
VanuatuMedium0.6140.614Lower middle income$3,650
Sao Tome and PrincipeMedium0.6130.609Lower middle income$2,400
KiribatiMedium0.6280.627Lower middle income $2,810
MicronesiaMedium0.6340.634Lower middle income $4,140
NauruMedium0.6960.693$17,800
TuvaluMedium0.6530.653$7,160
PakistanLow0.5400.537Lower middle income $1,560
NigeriaLow0.5480.542Lower middle income $2,160
EthiopiaLow0.4920.489Low income $1,020
DR CongoLow0.4810.475Low income $610
TanzaniaLow0.5320.529Lower middle income$1,200
SudanLow0.5160.516Low income$760
AfghanistanLow0.4620.473Low income $380
YemenLow0.4240.425Low income$1,000
MozambiqueLow0.4610.459Low income $440
MadagascarLow0.4870.484Low income $510
Ivory CoastLow0.5340.530Lower middle income $2,620
NigerLow0.3940.389Low income $580
MaliLow0.4100.408Low income$850
Burkina FasoLow0.4380.445Low income $850
MalawiLow0.5080.509Low income $640
ChadLow0.3940.393Low income $690
SomaliaLow0.380Low income$600
SenegalLow0.5170.512Lower middle income$1,620
GuineaLow0.4710.467Lower middle income $1,190
RwandaLow0.5480.539Low income $930
BeninLow0.5040.502Lower middle income $1,400
BurundiLow0.4200.419Low income $240
South SudanLow0.3810.381Low income$1,040
TogoLow0.5470.545Low income$1,010
Sierra LeoneLow0.4580.456Low income$600
Central African RepublicLow0.3870.387Low income $480
LiberiaLow0.4870.484Low income $680
MauritaniaLow0.5400.538Lower middle income $2,080
EritreaLow0.4930.490Low income $610
GambiaLow0.4950.490Low income $800
LesothoLow0.5210.522Lower middle income $1,230
Guinea BissauLow0.4830.482Low income
DjiboutiLow0.5150.512Lower middle income $3,310
ChinaHigh0.7880.785Upper middle income $12,850
IndonesiaHigh0.7130.707Upper middle income $4,580
BrazilHigh0.7600.756Upper middle income $8,140
MexicoHigh0.7810.757Upper middle income$10,820
PhilippinesHigh0.7100.692Lower middle income $3,950
EgyptHigh0.7280.726Lower middle income $4,100
VietnamHigh0.7260.718Lower middle income$4,010
IranHigh0.7800.776Lower middle income $3,980
South AfricaHigh0.7170.721Upper middle income $6,780
ColombiaHigh0.7580.752Upper middle income $6,500
AlgeriaHigh0.7450.740Lower middle income$3,920
UkraineHigh0.7340.755Lower middle income$4,260
UzbekistanHigh0.7270.721Lower middle income$2,190
PeruHigh0.7620.755Upper middle income $6,740
Sri LankaHigh0.7800.783Lower middle income$3,610
EcuadorHigh0.7650.746Upper middle income $6,300
TunisiaHigh0.7320.729Lower middle income$3,830
Dominican RepublicHigh0.7660.756Upper middle income$9,050
JordanHigh0.7360.736Lower middle income $4,350
CubaHigh0.7640.742Upper middle income$8,920
AzerbaijanHigh0.7600.738Upper middle income $5,660
LibyaHigh0.7460.746Upper middle income $7,260
ParaguayHigh0.7310.730Upper middle income $5,920
KyrgyzstanHigh0.7010.696Lower middle income $1,440
BulgariaHigh0.7990.796Upper middle income $13,350
TurkmenistanHigh0.7440.740Upper middle income$6,970
PalestineHigh0.7160.715Not rated
LebanonHigh0.7230.725Lower middle income $4,970
MongoliaHigh0.7410.730Lower middle income $4,260
MoldovaHigh0.7630.767Upper middle income $5,500
Bosnia and HerzegovinaHigh0.7790.776Upper middle income $7,660
AlbaniaHigh0.7890.785Upper middle income $6,770
JamaicaHigh0.7060.704Upper middle income$5,760
ArmeniaHigh0.7860.774Upper middle income $5,960
BotswanaHigh0.7080.680Upper middle income $7,430
North MacedoniaHigh0.7650.764Upper middle income $6,660
MauritiusHigh0.7960.790Upper middle income $10,360
FijiHigh0.7290.715Upper middle income $5,390
GuyanaHigh0.7420.721High income $14,920
MaldivesHigh0.7620.753Upper middle income $10,880
BelizeHigh0.7000.698Upper middle income $6,630
SamoaHigh0.7020.708Lower middle income $3,660
Saint LuciaHigh0.7250.717Upper middle income$12,400
GrenadaHigh0.7930.788Upper middle income $9,070
TongaHigh0.7390.738Upper middle income$4,930
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesHigh0.7720.773Upper middle income $9,110
DominicaHigh0.7400.737Upper middle income $8,430
Marshall IslandsHigh0.7310.729Upper middle income $7,270
PalauHigh0.7970.802Upper middle income $13,420
North KoreaHigh income
TaiwanHigh income
Republic of the CongoLower middle income $2,290
Puerto RicoHigh income$24,560
MacauHigh income
French PolynesiaHigh income $18,560
New CaledoniaHigh income $37,370
Curacao$18,060
GuamHigh income
Aruba$33,410
Isle of Man$79,300
Cayman Islands$62,000
BermudaHigh income $125,210
GreenlandHigh income $34,800
Faroe Islands$74,420
Turks and Caicos Islands$25,240
Sint Maarten$35,260
Total0.722
showing: 209 rows

How many countries are considered developing?

There are 209 developing countries in the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sources