Third World Countries 2021

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What is a Third World country? That depends upon when in history you ask the question. The meaning of "third world" has evolved considerably since it was first used more than half a century ago.

Originally coined by French historian Alfred Sauvy in 1952, "Third World" was part of the "three worlds" label system used to describe a country's political alliances. The "First World" countries were the largely democratic NATO countries such as the United States, Japan, and much of Western Europe. The "Second World" countries were the Communist Bloc countries, including the Soviet Union, China, and their allies. Finally, "Third World" countries were countries that remained neutral and allied with neither side.

However, that meaning changed after the fall of the Soviet Union (and the end of the Cold War) in the early 1990s. "Third World" lost its political root and came to refer to economically poor and non-industrialized countries, as well as newly industrialized countries. Under this modernized definition, Third World countries are those that display economic, social, political, and environmental issues such as high poverty rates, economic instability, and lack of essential human resources compared to the rest of the world.

This shifting definition has led to significant confusion as to which countries could correctly be called Third World today. For example, going by the historical definition, nations such as Finland, Sweden, Ireland, and Switzerland were not aligned with either NATO or the Communist Bloc, and so were Third World countries. However, none of these nations would be considered Third World under the modern definition—they're all too prosperous.

Adding insult to inaccuracy, when used in its modern context, Third World is considered to be a derogatory term that degrades countries which are developing and/or poor.

This combination of confusion and possible insult has made Third World a largely obsolete term. Instead, most modern speakers and writers favor more accurate, inoffensive terms such as "developing countries" and "least developed countries" (calculated by the United Nations) or "low-income countries" (based upon World Bank data).

As such, rather than presenting a list of modern Third World countries, we invite you to scroll down to our list of the world's least developed countries.

Note: The following United Nations Member States were not included in the latest Human Development Index report: North Korea, Monaco, Nauru, San Marino, Somalia, and Tuvalu.

Here are the 10 countries with the lowest human development indexes:

  1. Tuvalu (0)
  2. Somalia (0)
  3. Niger (0.354)
  4. Central African Republic (0.367)
  5. South Sudan (0.388)
  6. Chad (0.404)
  7. Burundi (0.417)
  8. Sierra Leone (0.419)
  9. Burkina Faso (0.423)
  10. Mali (0.427)

Third World Countries 2021

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Third World Countries 2021

Country Human Development Index 2021 Population
Tuvalu011,931
Somalia016,359,504
Niger0.35425,130,817
Central African Republic0.3674,919,981
South Sudan0.38811,381,378
Chad0.40416,914,985
Burundi0.41712,255,433
Sierra Leone0.4198,141,343
Burkina Faso0.42321,497,096
Mali0.42720,855,735
Liberia0.4355,180,203
Mozambique0.43732,163,047
Eritrea0.443,601,467
Yemen0.45230,490,640
Guinea Bissau0.4552,015,494
Dr Congo0.45792,377,993
Guinea0.45913,497,244
Gambia0.462,486,945
Ethiopia0.463117,876,227
Djibouti0.4761,002,187
Malawi0.47719,647,684
Ivory Coast0.49227,053,629
Haiti0.49811,541,685
Afghanistan0.49839,835,428
Sudan0.50244,909,353
Comoros0.503888,451
Togo0.5038,478,250
Senegal0.50517,196,301
Benin0.51512,451,040
Uganda0.51647,123,531
Madagascar0.51928,427,328
Lesotho0.522,159,079
Mauritania0.524,775,119
Rwanda0.52413,276,513
Nigeria0.532211,400,708
Zimbabwe0.53515,092,171
Syria0.53618,275,702
Tanzania0.53861,498,437
Papua New Guinea0.5449,119,010
Solomon Islands0.546703,996
Cameroon0.55627,224,265
Pakistan0.562225,199,937
Nepal0.57429,674,920
Myanmar0.57854,806,012
Angola0.58133,933,610
Cambodia0.58216,946,438
Eswatini0.5881,172,362
Zambia0.58818,920,651
Sao Tome And Principe0.589223,368
Kenya0.5954,985,698
Equatorial Guinea0.5911,449,896
Ghana0.59231,732,129
Laos0.6017,379,358
Vanuatu0.603314,464
Republic Of The Congo0.6065,657,013
Bangladesh0.608166,303,498
Kiribati0.612121,392
Bhutan0.612779,898
Honduras0.61710,062,991
Timor Leste0.6251,343,873
Micronesia0.627116,254
India0.641,393,409,038
Namibia0.6472,587,344
Tajikistan0.659,749,627
Guatemala0.6518,249,860
Cape Verde0.654561,898
Guyana0.654790,326
Nicaragua0.6586,702,385
Morocco0.66737,344,795
Kyrgyzstan0.6726,628,356
El Salvador0.6746,518,499
Iraq0.68541,179,350
Palestine0.6865,222,748
Bolivia0.69311,832,940
Vietnam0.69498,168,833
Indonesia0.694276,361,783
Egypt0.696104,258,327
South Africa0.69960,041,994
Philippines0.699111,046,913
Moldova0.74,024,019
Gabon0.7022,278,825
Paraguay0.7027,219,638
Turkmenistan0.7066,117,924
Libya0.7066,958,532
Marshall Islands0.70859,610
Belize0.708404,914
Uzbekistan0.7133,935,763
Samoa0.713200,149
Dominica0.71572,167
Maldives0.717543,617
Botswana0.7172,397,241
Suriname0.72591,800
Saint Vincent And The Grenadines0.723111,263
Tonga0.726106,760
Jamaica0.7322,973,463
Jordan0.73510,269,021
Tunisia0.73511,935,766
Dominican Republic0.73610,953,703
Fiji0.741902,906
Mongolia0.7413,329,289
Saint Lucia0.747184,400
Colombia0.74751,265,844
Peru0.7533,359,418
Ukraine0.75143,466,819
Ecuador0.75217,888,475
China0.7521,444,216,107
Algeria0.75444,616,624
Armenia0.7552,968,127
Thailand0.75569,950,850
Lebanon0.7576,769,146
Azerbaijan0.75710,223,342
Brazil0.759213,993,437
Venezuela0.76128,704,954
Bosnia And Herzegovina0.7683,263,466
Sri Lanka0.7721,497,310
Grenada0.772113,021
Mexico0.774130,262,216
Cuba0.77711,317,505
Saint Kitts And Nevis0.77853,544
Antigua And Barbuda0.7898,731
Georgia0.783,979,765
Trinidad And Tobago0.7841,403,375
Albania0.7852,872,933
Serbia0.7878,697,550
Panama0.7894,381,579
Mauritius0.791,273,433
Turkey0.79185,042,738
Costa Rica0.7945,139,052
Seychelles0.79798,908
Palau0.79818,169
Iran0.79885,028,759
Barbados0.8287,711
Kazakhstan0.818,994,962
Malaysia0.80232,776,194
Kuwait0.8034,328,550
Uruguay0.8043,485,151
Bahamas0.807396,913
Belarus0.8089,442,862
Romania0.81119,127,774
Bulgaria0.8136,896,663
Montenegro0.814628,053
Russia0.816145,912,025
Oman0.8215,223,375
Argentina0.82545,605,826
Croatia0.8314,081,651
Hungary0.8389,634,164
Chile0.84319,212,361
Bahrain0.8461,748,296
Latvia0.8471,866,942
Portugal0.84710,167,925
Brunei0.853441,532
Saudi Arabia0.85335,340,683
Slovakia0.8555,460,721
Qatar0.8562,930,528
Andorra0.85877,355
Lithuania0.8582,689,862
United Arab Emirates0.8639,991,089
Poland0.86537,797,005
Cyprus0.8691,215,584
Greece0.8710,370,744
Estonia0.8711,325,185
Malta0.878442,784
Italy0.8860,367,477
Czech Republic0.88810,724,555
Spain0.89146,745,216
Slovenia0.8962,078,724
France0.90165,426,179
Israel0.9038,789,774
South Korea0.90351,305,186
Luxembourg0.904634,814
Austria0.9089,043,070
Japan0.909126,050,804
Liechtenstein0.91638,250
Belgium0.91611,632,326
New Zealand0.9174,860,643
Finland0.925,548,360
United Kingdom0.92268,207,116
United States0.924332,915,073
Canada0.92638,067,903
Denmark0.9295,813,298
Netherlands0.93117,173,099
Singapore0.9325,896,686
Hong Kong0.9337,552,810
Sweden0.93310,160,169
Iceland0.935343,353
Germany0.93683,900,473
Ireland0.9384,982,907
Australia0.93925,788,215
Switzerland0.9448,715,494
Norway0.9535,465,630

Third World Countries 2021