Underdeveloped countries have low indicators of social
development, are poorly industrialized and economically
The developing countries are those that
have low economic and social development, marked by
inequality, according to the criteria established by the
United Nations (UN). They are also known as least developed
countries or least developed countries.
It is important to note that the term
underdeveloped, which emerged after the Second
World War to describe nations that needed advances in social
and economic aspects, fell into disuse as of the 1990s,
being replaced by the terms "under development"
or "emerging". Therefore, it is common to
find classifications in which underdeveloped countries are
considered to be developing countries.
List of underdeveloped countries
The following list * of underdeveloped
countries follows the UN classification for low income,
social fragility and economic vulnerability.
The following are considered underdeveloped countries,
according to the UN:
- Niger - HDI: 0.354
- Democratic Republic of Congo - HDI: 0.457
- Mozambique - HDI: 0.437
- Burkina Faso - HDI: 0.423
- Mali - HDI: 0.427
- Eritrea - HDI: 0.417
- Burundi - HDI: 0.417
- Sierra Leone - HDI: 0.419
- Guinea-Bissau - HDI: 0.455
- Afghanistan - HDI: 0.498
* HDI: 2017 data
Classification criteria for an underdeveloped
The UN considers three criteria for classifying a country
as underdeveloped. By overcoming these criteria, the country
is no longer classified in this way. Are they:
||Country that presents instability in
agricultural production, in exports and has a
population that moves due to natural disasters that
devastate the country.
||Country with low social indicators that take
into account health, education and nutrition.
||Country with GDP (Gross Domestic
Product) per capita below US $ 750. Being over 900
dollars, the country leaves the list of
Characteristics of underdeveloped countries
The characteristics of underdeveloped countries refer
mainly to economic and social aspects.
→ Economic aspects
Underdeveloped countries are characterized by low
economic development and low level of
industrialization. This means that these countries
are economically dependent on developed
countries. This dependence is due to the fact that these
nations were exploited and colonized, showing, to this day,
marks of that exploitation.
In relation to the Gross Domestic Product - which
represents the monetary value of goods and services produced
by the country over a year -, it is low. The per
capita GDP (gross domestic product divided by
number of inhabitants) does not exceed 750 US dollars. In
these countries, the economy is based mainly on the
primary and tertiary sectors.
Another characteristic, related to the economy and
investments, is the low scientific development.
The lack of capital investment causes deficiency in
the technological field, preventing the country from
→ Social aspects
The main indicator of a country's social development is
called HDI (Human Development Index), which
compares countries' development according to criteria such
as indicators of education, longevity and income.
The HDI has a reference that varies from 0 to 1. The
closer the index is to 1, the better the living conditions,
education and income in the country. The closer it is to 0,
the worse is the quality of life in the country.
Thus, underdeveloped countries have a low HDI,
so they are closer to 0, meeting the UN criterion of social
fragility. The life expectancy in these
countries is reduced. The population growth rate is high, as
well as the birth and mortality rates .
Usually, these countries find it difficult to serve the
population, lacking public policies aimed at health,
education and culture.
Differences between developed and underdeveloped
Developed and underdeveloped countries have
differences in all aspects. With regard to
development, developed countries have a high level
of industrialization, which is not the case in
underdeveloped countries, which have late industrialization.
Among the economic aspects, one of the
most relevant in the comparison of these countries is the
Gross Domestic Product. Developed countries
have high GDP, while underdeveloped countries have low GDP.
- Norway's GDP: USD 398.8 billion
- Niger GDP: USD 3.774 billion
Still in the economic aspect, there is also
income per capita. In developed countries, per
capita income is high and generally distributed
homogeneously. In underdeveloped countries, per capita
income is low and heterogeneously distributed. In the
latter, there is much concentration of wealth in the hands
of a few.
The industrialized countries are
dominant in the economy, presenting a stable economic
development and having their revenues generated by the
industrial sector. Since the late industrializing
countries are exploited economically, with
dependence on developed countries. The economy of
underdeveloped countries is based mainly on the agricultural
sector. Its revenues are generated by the primary and
In relation to social aspects, the HDI
is very relevant to make the comparison between countries.
Developed countries have high HDI, as well
as high life expectancy. In underdeveloped countries, the
opposite is true, the HDI is low, as well
as life expectancy.
Demographic indicators, such as birth
rate and mortality, also play an important role. In
developed countries, there is greater birth control and more
efficient public policies in the health sector. This is also
reflected in the mortality rate. Both are reduced in these
countries. In the underdeveloped countries, on the other
hand, birth and mortality rates are high,
considering that health and education programs are not very
efficient. These countries face numerous social problems,
such as high rates of violence and high rates of illiteracy.
Underdeveloped countries of America
The Haiti is the only country that is
underdeveloped in the Americas and, according to
the Human Development Index and the criteria established by
the UN, is the poorest country in the Americas. The country
is experiencing a dramatic scenario both in the economic
aspect and in the social and political aspect.
Haiti, in addition to facing alarming corruption,
according to reports from the Corruption Perception Index,
has also suffered 32 coups d'état throughout its history.
Corruption, related to a large network of diversion of
funds, is associated with poverty rates in the country,
which is experiencing periods of extremely high inflation.
The country suffers from numerous social
problems, especially with regard to health.
Trafficking rates are alarming, people live in extreme
poverty with malnutrition, and education in the country is
poor. The country receives aid from programs such as Unicef
(United Nations Children's Fund). Unicef, together with
the government, promotes vaccinations, such as the
vaccination program against cholera, a disease that killed
about 10,000 Haitians.
All of these problems are exacerbated by the countless
environmental disasters that are plaguing the country. Haiti
has faced several earthquakes and
hurricanes of catastrophic proportions. Many people
leave the country in search of better living conditions,
and, according to the World Food Program, about 140,000
people live in temporary refuges in the country.
Is Brazil an underdeveloped country?
Countryaah, Brazil is the largest countries in continent of South
America. Here is a description of Brazil economy status.
First, it is important to emphasize that many
classifications seek to segment countries according to their
levels of development. These classifications are not based
on the same criteria, therefore, it is necessary to pay
attention to the criteria used for each one of them, in
order to understand the economic and social development of a
Regarding Brazil, we know that,
historically, it was an exploitation colony, dominated and
exploited for a long period. Such actions left marks of
dependency and fragility in the country. Brazil, for a long
time, was considered an underdeveloped country and even
today it has characteristics that refer to this
underdevelopment, such as social fragility, hunger,
inequality and the concentration of income.
However, many classifications frame Brazil as a
developing country, that is, a country that is experiencing
social ascension, improvement of social indicators and
growing economic and industrial development, although slow.
Developing countries have average levels of
social and economic development and also the potential to
become large economies over the years, as is the case in
Brazil. Thus, despite still presenting characteristics of
underdevelopment, Brazil is currently considered a
Underdeveloped countries are, according to the United
Nations, those that:
- have reduced social and economic development;
- have low social indicators;
- its economy is based mainly on agriculture and the
- show late industrialization.
- they were usually exploration colonies, so they are
economically dependent on developed countries.