Classifications by the IMF
and the UN
in 2008.A developed country, industrialized country (or post-industrial country), more developed country (MDC), or more economically developed country (MEDC), is a sovereign state
that has a high quality of life
, developed economy
and advanced technological infrastructure relative to other less industrialized nations. Most commonly, the criteria for evaluating the degree of economic development are gross domestic product
(GDP), gross national product
(GNP), the per capita income
, level of industrialization, amount of widespread infrastructure and general standard of living. Which criteria are to be used and which countries can be classified as being developed are subjects of debate.
Developed countries have generally more advanced post-industrial
economies, meaning the service sector
provides more wealth than the industrial sector
. They are contrasted with developing countries
, which are in the process of industrialisation
or are pre-industrial and almost entirely agrarian
, some of which might fall into the category of Least Developed Countries
. As of 2015, advanced economies comprise 60.8% of global GDP based on nominal values
and 42.9% of global GDP based on purchasing-power parity
(PPP) according to the International Monetary Fund
Terms linked to the concept ''developed country'' include "advanced country", "industrialized country", "'more developed country" (MDC), "more economically developed country" (MEDC), "Global North
country", "first world
country", and "post-industrial country". The term industrialized country may be somewhat ambiguous, as industrialisation
is an ongoing process that is hard to define. The first industrialized country was the United Kingdom
, followed by Belgium
. Later it spread further to Germany
, United States
and other Western European countries
. According to some economist
s such as Jeffrey Sachs
, however, the current divide between the developed and developing world
is largely a phenomenon of the 20th century.
calls the binary labeling of countries as "neither descriptive nor explanatory. It is merely a thoughtless and destructive endorsement of GDP fetish. In reality, there are not two types of countries, but over 200 different countries, all faced with the same laws of nature, yet each with unique features."
Definition and criteria
Economic criteria have tended to dominate discussions. One such criterion is income per capita; countries with high gross domestic product
(GDP) per capita would thus be described as developed countries. Another economic criterion is industrialisation
; countries in which the tertiary
and quaternary sectors of industry
dominate would thus be described as developed. More recently another measure, the Human Development Index
(HDI), which combines an economic measure, national income, with other measures, indices for life expectancy and education has become prominent. This criterion would define developed countries as those with a very high (HDI) rating. The index, however, does not take into account several factors, such as the net wealth per capita
or the relative quality of goods
in a country. This situation tends to lower the ranking for some of the most advanced countries, such as the G7
members and others.
According to the United Nations Statistics Division
There is no established convention for the designation of "developed" and "developing" countries or areas in the United Nations system.
And it notes that:
The designations "developed" and "developing" are intended for statistical convenience and do not necessarily express a judgement about the stage reached by a particular country or area in the development process.
Human Development Index (HDI)
The UN HDI is a statistical measure that gauges a country's level of human development. While there is a strong correlation between having a high HDI score and being a prosperous economy, the UN points out that the HDI accounts for more than income or productivity. Unlike GDP per capita or per capita income, the HDI takes into account how income is turned "into education and health opportunities and therefore into higher levels of human development."
Since 1990, Norway
(2001–2006, 2009–2018), Japan
(1990–1991 and 1993), Canada
(1992 and 1994–2000) and Iceland
(2007–2008) have had the highest HDI score.
Many countries listed by IMF as "advanced", possess an HDI
over 0.800, the threshold for "very high" human development. Many countries
[Namely sovereign states, i.e., excluding Macau: In 2003, the government of Macau calculated its HDI as being 0.909 (the UN does not calculate Macau's HDI); In January 2007, th]
reported (from ''China Modernization Report 2007''): "In 2004... Macau... had reached the level of developed countries". Th
organisation (of the UN), as well as th
, classify Macau as a "developing" territory. Th
classifies Macau as a high income economy (along with developed economies as well as with few developing economies).
possessing an HDI of 0.800 and over are conversely listed by IMF as "advanced". Thus, many "advanced economies" are characterized by an HDI score of 0.800 or higher.
The 2019 Human Development Report by the United Nations Development Programme
was released on 9 December 2019, and calculates HDI values based on estimates for 2018. Below is the list of the "very high human development" countries:
* = increase.
* = steady.
* = decrease.
* The number in parentheses represents the number of ranks the country has climbed (up or down) relative to the ranking in the year of 2017.
As a non-UN member, the government of Taiwan
calculates its own HDI based on UNDP's 2010 methodology
, which had a value of 0.911 in 2018,
[In the 2018 Subnational Human Development Index (SHDI) Database, Taiwan's HDI was given as 0.880 among China's dat]
owever, from 2019 onward, Taiwan and Hong Kong are no longer included in the SHDI Database among Chinese division
By contrast, the HDIs which published by the Statistical Bureau of Taiwan in its 20
reports were displayed as 0.911 in 2018, and 0.916 in 2019 respectively. The cause of discrepancy was due to lack of available national data in the UNDP database for Taiwan (UNDP specifically notes that Taiwan is excluded from its HDI data for China as well
The SHDI claimed that the data collection for Taiwan was also derived from the Taiwanese Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statisticsbr>
the latter source is used as primary data in this article.
ranked 21 globally. Additionally, while the HDI for the Chinese special administrative region
of Hong Kong is calculated by the UN, it is not for Macau
. The Macanese government calculated the territory's HDI to be 0.868 in 2011. These values place both Taiwan and Macau well within the list of countries with "Very high human development". Furthermore, in 2009 a United Nations project calculated the HDI for all of its members, as well as Taiwan, Macau, and many dependent territories
. The HDI values for the countries of San Marino
, which have not been included in official annual HDI reports, were found to be at 0.961 and 0.956 respectively. This places both countries firmly within the category of countries with "Very high human development" as well. The dependent territories with HDI values equivalent to "Very high human development" were: Jersey
, Cayman Islands
, Norfolk Island
, Faroe Islands
, Isle of Man
, British Virgin Islands
, Falkland Islands
, Puerto Rico
, and Guam
[Filling Gaps in the Human Development Index](_blank)
, United Nations ESCAP, February 2009
Of note, the HDI values in the 2009 report were calculated using the old HDI formula, while HDI values after the year 2010 are calculated with a different formula.
Some institutions have produced lists of developed countries: the UN (list shown above), the CIA,
and some providers of stock market indices (the FTSE Group
, Dow Jones
, etc.). The latter is not included here because its association of developed countries with countries with both high incomes and developed market
s is not deemed as directly relevant.
[The Developed Countries Glossary](_blank)
entry reads: "The following countries are classified by FTSE as developed countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium/Luxembourg, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong (China), Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States."
However, many other institutions have created more general lists referred to when discussing developed countries. For example, the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) identifies 39 "advanced economies".
[World Economic Outlook](_blank)
, International Monetary Fund, September 2011, p. 165.
's 37 members are known as the "developed countries club". The World Bank
identifies 81 "high income countries".
Other standards, such as the 30-50 Club (GDP per capita over $30,000 and population over 50 million) have been developed to categorize highly developed and influential countries.
World Bank high-income economies
According to the World Bank the following 82 countries (including territories) are classified as "high-income economies". As of the 2021 fiscal year, high-income economies are those that had a GNI per capita of $12,536 or more in 2019.
[Country and Lending Groups.](_blank)
, World Bank. Accessed on 1 July 2020.
37 countries and territories in Europe
21 countries and territories in the Americas
16 countries and territories in Asia
7 countries and territories in Oceania
2 countries in Africa
7 former high-income economies:
* Between 1994 and 2009, as a part of the .
# Dissolved on 10 October 2010, succeeded by Curaçao and Sint Maarten.
High-income OECD members
According to the World Bank, the following 34 members are classified as "OECD High-Income":
26 countries in Europe:
3 countries in the Americas:
3 countries in Asia:
2 countries in Oceania:
Development Assistance Committee members
There are 29 OECD
member countries and the European Union
—in the Development Assistance Committee
[Peer reviews of DAC members – Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development](_blank)
. Oecd.org. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
a group of the world's major donor countries that discuss issues surrounding development aid
and poverty reduction
in developing countries
[DAC website >> "The DAC in Dates"](_blank)
, On the DAC's self-description, see the introductory letter. On other events, refer to the relevant section by date.
The following OECD member countries are DAC members:
23 countries in Europe:
2 countries in the Americas:
2 countries in Asia:
2 countries in Oceania:
IMF advanced economies
According to the International Monetary Fund
, the following 39 (+8) economies are classified as "advanced economies":
27 countries and 3 territories in Europe
7 countries and territories in Asia
2 countries and 2 territories in the Americas
2 countries in Oceania
The CIA has modified an older version of the IMF's list of 38 Advanced Economies, noting that the IMF's Advanced Economies list "would presumably also cover the following nine smaller countries of Andorra, Bermuda, Faroe Islands, Guernsey, Holy See, Jersey, Liechtenstein, Monaco, and San Marino..
. San Marino was later included in the IMF's list.
Paris Club members
There are 22 permanent members in the Paris Club
(french: Club de Paris), a group of officials from major creditor countries whose role is to find coordinated and sustainable solutions to the payment difficulties experienced by debtor countries.
15 countries in Europe:
3 countries in the Americas:
3 countries in Asia:
1 country in Oceania:
Comparative table (2021)
Comparative table of countries with a "very high" human development (0.800 or higher), according to UNDP
members; "advanced" economies, according to the IMF
; "high income" economies, according to the World Bank
; and income per capita (purchasing power parity) higher than $22,000, according to the IMF
The list below features some outstanding countries selected from the comparative table above with average data of quality (best place in rankings) and quantity (considered in how many of the 33 rankings) with an evaluation greater than 60%.
* Digital divide
* First World privilege
* First World problem
* Fourth World
* Group of Eight
* Group of Seven
* List of countries by wealth per adult
* Multinational corporation
* Second World
* Third World
* Western Bloc
(quality of life survey)
United Nations Statistics Division
Category:Economic country classifications
Category:Lists of countries