Different countries in our world actually have completely different economies, political ideologies, human rights, infrastructure, per capital income, population densities, education systems, healthcare systems, and whatnot. Whereas, several of the countries are doing pretty well in all of the above-mentioned factors. However, there are various countries that are not even being able to fulfill their basic needs of food, potable water, education, and even healthcare. Let us try to understand the emerging gap between the First World and the Third World countries of our planet in this article.
Understanding the First World, Second World, and the Third World Countries in Historical Context:
It all happened after the II World War, during the Cold War between the USA and USSR when all the countries around the world were categorized in three parts. Let us try to understand the basis on which these countries were categorized into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd World.
First World Countries:
The First World is referred to as the capitalist, developed, and industrial countries that aligned with NATO and the US after the II World War also termed as the Western Bloc. These countries had a common political as well as economical interest.
List of First World Countries:
NATO Members during the Cold War:
States Aligned with the USA:
- South Korea
- Former British Colonies:
Second World Countries:
The Second World referred to the communist and socialist countries which were less industrialized than the western world and had a completely different political interest as well as thinking. The Second World usually comprised of the countries that had a prominent influence of the Soviet Union or were a part of the same.
List of Second World Countries:
Members of the USSR:
Other Communist Countries:
- North Korea
- Lao PDR
Countries aligned towards USSR:
- Bosnia & Herzegovina
- Czech Republic
- Easy Germany
Third World Countries:
The Thirst World referred to all the remaining countries, mainly underdeveloped, which had agriculture as their main source of survival and were least industrialized, including most of the African, Asian, and Latin American countries. These countries were generally suffering from poverty, high illiteracy, high child mortality, and very low economic growth when the II World War ended. Now that this statement does not hold true due to the changing scenario, however, politically, these countries are still referred to as the Third World.
Understanding the First World and Third World Countries in Present Scenario:
Now that we have understood the historical connection between these terms, let us talk about the current-day scenario. Today, the term “First World Countries” is generally coined for the Nations that have stable currencies, a strong financial background, great human rights, a great Human Development Index, Press freedom, proper infrastructure, and a low poverty rate. Below mentioned are some of the top First World Countries from around the world.
List of First World Countries based on their ranking from top to bottom:
- Norway: With a Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.957, Norway is the most developed country in the world as per the UN Development Report. It is one of the World’s wealthiest Nations with a Gross Salary of $5166 per month per person and also has a pretty high life expectancy of 82.3 years. Norway’s economy is particularly boosted through its abundant petroleum and natural gas exports.
- Switzerland: With an HDI index of 0.955 and a life expectancy of 83.6 years, Switzerland is the second most developed country in the world. It also has the highest per capita GDP in the world at $82,504.
- Ireland: Ireland has an HDI of 0.955 and has been the fastest-growing country in the past few years as per the UN. Ireland has also been doing pretty well in terms of gender equality and has a whopping per capita GDP of $80,264
- Hong Kong: Hong Kong is actually a Special Administrative Region with is a part of China. However, it exercises great autonomy and has an HDI of 0.949. With low tax rates, negligible government interference, and free trade, Hong Kong has developed into an international business and financial hub over the years. In 2019, the per capita GDP of Hong Kong was $48,760 and a life expectancy of 84.7 years.
- Iceland: Iceland actually ties places with Hog Kong as the 4th most developed country of the World, with an HDI of 0.949. Iceland offers universal health care cover and tertiary education to all its citizens. Iceland has a pretty stable economy, social stability as well as equality. In 2019, Iceland also ranked as the most peaceful and safest country as per the Global Index.
- Germany: Germany ranks 6th in the list of the first world countries with an HDI of 0.947. Germany has the strongest economy as well as the best standards of living in entire Europe. All the citizens of Germany get universal health care coverage and the country rules the world of automobile manufacturing, machinery, electronics, as well as pharmaceuticals.
- Sweden: With an HDI index of 0.945 and a life expectancy of 82.7 years, Sweden is the seventh-most developed country in the world.
- Australia: Australia has an HDI of 0.944 and boasts a life expectancy of 83.3 years. It also has the lowest infant mortality rate in the world, with a ratio of 3:1000. Good healthcare and a high literacy rate further boost the quality of living in Australia. It is also a part of the G20 and has a GDP of $1.14 trillion.
- Netherlands: With an HDI of 0.944, the Netherlands ties places with Australia as the 8th most developed country in the world. The Netherlands boasts a very high quality of life with a great education and healthcare services. The country also has a healthy work-life balance and has a life expectancy of 82.1 years.
- Denmark: Denmark has an HDI of 0.940 and a life expectancy of 80.95 years. Denmark also has the most powerful parliament in the European Union. The country boasts comfortable standards of living and has the tenth highest per-capita income in the entire world.
- Singapore: This small little country does not only has a great life expectancy of 83.5 but also is one of the most peaceful nations in the world. Singapore is one of the most competitive economies of the world and has a GDP growth rate of 7.7% ever since its independence in 1965. Manufacturing and service are two of the most important aspects of Singapore’s boosting economy.
- UK: The UK offers universal public education to all its citizens and has a literacy rate of over 99% amongst people above 15 years of age. It has an HDI of 0.932. It is also one of the strongest economies in the world.
- Belgium: With a population of 11 million, Belgium is expected to develop rapidly throughout the 21st Century, unlike the other 1st World countries. The country has a life expectancy of 81.1 years, which is known to be increasing constantly. The current HDI of Belgium is 0.931.
- New Zealand: New Zealand has the same HDI as Belgium, however, when we talk about GDP, it is only the 53rd strongest in the world. The Queen of England is still considered as the head of the New Zealand government; however, the country has a unitary parliamentary representative democracy.
- Canada: With an HDI of .929 and a population of over 30 million, Canada stands 16th on this list. For the past 10 years, Canada has experienced a growth rate of .8% – 1.2%, which is the highest as compared to any G7 nation. Also, Canada experiences the 8th highest migration in the world.
- USA: USA has an HDI of 0.921 and a life expectancy of 78.9. Also, the country has the largest economy in the world, however, does not have the highest per capita GDP. The population of the US is expected to boom throughout the 21st Century.
List of Third World Countries based on their Raking from Bottom to Top:
- Niger: Niger has an HDI of 0.394 and the highest total fertility rate (TRF) in the world, averaging approximately 7 children per woman. Niger also experiences extreme poverty rates at 41.4% as of 2019 and has a prominent dependency on subsistence farming.
- Central African Republic: The country has an HDI of 0.397 and experiences a lack of government authority and communal insecurities in most parts of the country. The media freedom in the country is also very sparse and human rights also fall at bay.
- Chad: There have been no elections held in the country since 2011 and there has been no change in power ever since 1996, despite holding regular presidential elections. The country also experienced violent insurgencies led by armed militants and has an HDI of only 0.398.
- South Sudan: South Sudan is one of the poorest countries and has ongoing tensions over land borders and oil revenues with Sudan. More than 80% of the country lives in rural conditions and has a high dependency on agriculture and livestock. The HDI of South Sudan is 0.433.
- Burundi: Ever since its independence in 1962, Burundi has experienced undemocratic power changes and has been experiencing a land shortage, food shortage, as well as poverty. High rates of human trafficking further worsen the conditions of this small country with an HDI of 0.433.
- Mali: This landlocked country in West Africa experiences a high fertility rate, seasonal migrations, and suffers from poverty, unemployment, droughts, chronic food shortage, and communal conflicts. It has a low HDI of 0.434.
- Sierra Leone: With an HDI of 0.452, the country experienced a civil war from 1991 to 2002. The country lacks proper resources of potable water, sanitation and has limited access to healthcare facilities. However, the country is actually rich in diamonds and other minerals.
- Burkina Faso: The main reasons behind the increasing poverty in this country are the increasing population, unmanaged migration of people from rural areas, and limited arable land sources. Only a limited population in the country can read or write and has high rates of unemployment.
- Mozambique: With an HDI of 0.456, Mozambique is a food deficit country and the major population of the country lives in rural conditions. The country has been able to boost its economy over the past few decades, however, the conditions in the rural areas still remain the same, with widespread diseases and natural disasters further add to the deteriorating conditions.
- Eritrea: Ever since the country’s independence in 1991, only one president has been heading the country with his repressive laws. Eritrea’s economy is highly dependent on exports of gold, zinc, and agricultural produce; however, the increasing population, regular draughts, overgrazing, and soil erosions have been impacting the lives of the citizens as well as the country’s economy.
- Yemen: Yemen has an HDI of 0.47 and has been in conflict with the Arab world since 2015. However, even before the bombing began, Yemen was one of the poorest countries in the world. The country has been further dragged centuries behind with severely damaged infrastructure, airports, as well as other transit routes. The humanitarian conditions in the country have also been declining ever since.
- Guinea: Despite being rich in resources like diamond, gold, and iron, a majority of the country’s population still lives in poverty. The country also experiences a high mortality rate and a universal practice of female genital cutting further contributes to the high maternal mortality rate. The country has an HDI of 0.48
- Guinea Bissau: Ever since its independence in 1974, Guinea Bissau has suffered political instability, a civil war, and various coups that have led the country towards poverty. The country also experiences a high fertility rate as well as a high infant and maternal mortality rate with an HDI of 0.48.
- Democratic Republic of the Congo: With an HDI of 0.48, Congo suffers from high international debts, low government revenues, and widespread poverty. Despite having rich natural reserves, due to high rates of government inefficiency and corruption, the country has been unable to improve its deteriorating conditions.
- Malawi: Malawi has an HDI of 0.483. It’s a land-locked country with inconsistent government policies, poor infrastructure, high rates of corruption, and high population growth. Insufficient education and healthcare provision have been further adding to the deteriorating conditions of the country.
Different parts of our planet are actually living in completely different worlds. The above-mentioned list would surely help you understand the conditions of some of the most developed first world countries as well as the deteriorating 3rd World Countries.