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A developed country or "more developed country" (MDC), is a sovereign state which has a highly developed economy relative to other nations. Most commonly the criteria for evaluating the degree of economic development is gross domestic product (GDP), the per capita income, level of industrialization, amount of widespread infrastructure and general standard of living. Which criteria is to be used and which countries are classified as being developed is a contentious issue.
Developed countries have 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 industrialization, or undeveloped countries, which are pre-industrial and almost entirely agrarian. According to the International Monetary Fund, advanced economies comprise 65.8% of global nominal GDP and 52.1% of global GDP (PPP) in 2010. In 2011, the ten largest advanced economies by either nominal GDP or PPP were: the United States, Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, Spain, South Korea and Australia.
Terms similar to "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 industrialization is an ongoing process that is hard to define. The term MEDC is one used by modern geographers to specifically describe the status of the countries referred to: more economically developed. The first industrialized country was the United Kingdom, followed by Belgium. Later it spread further to Germany, United States, France and other Western European countries. According to some economists such as Jeffrey Sachs, however, the current divide between the developed and developing world is largely a phenomenon of the 20th century.
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 industrialization; 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. However, many anomalies exist when determining "developed" status by whichever measure is used.[examples needed]
Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations, defined a developed country as follows: "A developed country is one that allows all its citizens to enjoy a free and healthy life in a safe environment." But according to the United Nations Statistics Division,
And it notes that
The UN also notes
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 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, 2009–2011), Japan (1990–91 and 1993), Canada (1992 and 1994–2000) and Iceland (2007–08) have had the highest HDI score. The top 47 countries have scores ranging from 0.793 in Barbados to 0.943 in Norway.
Many countries listed by IMF or CIA as "advanced" (as of 2009), possess an HDI over 0.788 (as of 2010). Many countries possessing an HDI of 0.788 and over (as of 2010), are also listed by IMF or CIA as "advanced" (as of 2009). Thus, many "advanced economies" (as of 2009) are characterized by an HDI score of 0.9 or higher (as of 2007).
The latest index was released on 2 November 2011 and covers the period up to 2011. The following are the 47 countries in the top quartile and classified as possessing a "Very high human development".
While GDP per capita is often used to measure how developed a country is, it includes components that do not directly contribute to a citizen's well-being. However, breaking down GDP to its components and measuring only wages and salaries gives a more accurate picture of the living standard of a country. Unlike the gross wage, which can be an inaccurate indicator of the well-being of a citizen since it does not represent the full amount of money the worker will be left to consume on goods or services, the disposable wage excludes compulsory deductions such as income tax, municipal tax, provincial/state income tax, social security (pension plan, medicare) and compulsory insurance, thus measuring only the direct earnings of the citizen. The list below has compulsory deductions applied with rates obtained from the 2010 OECD Tax Database, which includes figures for all personal compulsory payments assuming that the citizen is single with no children, with an income level 100% of the average wage. The gross employment income are shown for reference and all monetary values are based on the OECD's purchasing power parity exchange rates. Note that the OECD does not publish data for some countries and hence they are not listed.
Only three institutions have produced lists of "developed countries". The three institutions and their lists are the UN list (shown above), the CIA list and the FTSE Group's list, whose list is not included because its association of developed countries with countries with both high incomes and developed markets is not deemed as directly relevant here. However many institutions have created lists which are sometimes referred to when people are discussing developed countries. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) identifies 35 "advanced economies", The OECD, also widely known as the "developed countries club" has 34 members. The World Bank identifies 66 "high income countries". The EIU's Quality-of-life survey and a list of countries with welfare states are also included here. The criteria for using all these lists and for countries' inclusion on these lists are often not properly spelt out, and several of these lists are based on old data.
According to the World Bank there are 66 "high-income economies".
According to the IMF the following 35 economies are classified as "advanced economies":
The CIA has modified an older version of the IMF's list of Advanced Economies, noting that the IMF's Advanced Economies list "would presumably also cover" some smaller countries. These include:
|• Andorra||• Bermuda||• Faroe Islands||• Holy See||• Liechtenstein||• Monaco|
There are 24 members — 23 selected OECD member countries and the European Commission—in the Development Assistance Committee, a group of the world's major donor countries that discuss issues surrounding development aid and poverty reduction in developing countries. The following OECD member countries are DAC members:
17 countries in Europe:
2 countries in Asia:
2 countries in North America:
2 countries in Oceania:
1 Joined the DAC in 1961, withdrew in 1974 and re-joined in 1991.
There are 31 high-income OECD members. As of 2010, the High-income OECD membership is as follows:
24 countries in Europe:
3 countries in Asia:
2 countries in North America:
2 countries in Oceania:
Newsweek published in 2010 the "world's best countries" index, measuring "health, education, economy, and politics" in 100 countries. As of 2010, the top 30 countries in terms of quality of life are:
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