Am wenigsten entwickelte Länder

The fourth world: Least Developed Countries

The 47 least developed countries are often referred to as the Fourth World. These are the countries at the lowest end of the poverty scale with the lowest level of development. The official abbreviation LDC is often confused with the "low developed countries". Therefore LLDC is also used.

The current 47 countries, with a total of 1.06 bn people, account for 13.62% of the world's population. The vast majority comes from Africa. This is followed by a few countries in Southeast Asia, as well as Oceania. Europe and America are unrepresented, with one exception (Haiti).
world map Least developed countries
CountryPopulationGNI per capitaHuman Asset IndexHealth IndexEducational Index
Afghanistan38.9 M500 USD42.049.734.3
Angola32.9 M2,140 USD52.057.146.8
Bangladesh164.7 M2,030 USD75.372.178.6
Benin12.1 M1,280 USD49.453.245.6
Bhutan0.8 M2,840 USD79.577.681.5
Burkina Faso20.9 M770 USD56.059.852.1
Burma54.4 M1,350 USD73.970.577.4
Burundi11.9 M230 USD53.942.165.6
Cambodia16.7 M1,500 USD74.374.074.6
Central African Republic4.8 M500 USD27.431.423.3
Chad16.4 M630 USD18.325.411.3
Comoros0.9 M1,400 USD67.267.766.7
Democratic Republic of the Congo89.6 M550 USD47.946.049.8
Djibouti1.0 M3,310 USD61.962.661.2
East Timor1.3 M1,990 USD69.558.280.8
Eritrea3.5 M600 USD57.249.265.2
Ethiopia115.0 M890 USD55.358.252.3
Gambia2.4 M750 USD63.865.562.2
Guinea13.1 M1,020 USD39.847.732.0
Guinea-Bissau2.0 M760 USD44.050.437.6
Haiti11.4 M1,320 USD66.263.968.5
Kiribati0.1 M2,960 USD81.580.882.2
Laos7.3 M2,520 USD72.868.677.0
Lesotho2.1 M1,100 USD62.649.675.5
Liberia5.1 M570 USD45.249.141.2
Madagascar27.7 M470 USD60.756.764.6
Malawi19.1 M580 USD55.560.550.5
Mali20.3 M830 USD45.651.639.6
Mauritania4.6 M1,670 USD54.151.356.9
Mozambique31.3 M460 USD53.955.152.7
Nepal29.1 M1,190 USD74.971.578.4
Niger24.2 M550 USD35.642.229.1
Rwanda13.0 M780 USD67.667.767.5
Sao Tome and Principe0.2 M2,060 USD89.485.992.9
Senegal16.7 M1,430 USD66.474.058.7
Sierra Leone8.0 M510 USD41.732.051.3
Solomon Islands0.7 M2,300 USD73.877.370.3
Somalia15.9 M420 USD24.338.510.0
South Sudan11.2 M460 USD22.031.812.2
Sudan43.8 M530 USD61.961.162.8
Tanzania59.7 M1,080 USD61.157.165.0
Togo8.3 M920 USD58.863.054.6
Tuvalu0.0 M5,820 USD82.889.675.9
Uganda45.7 M800 USD57.865.250.3
Vanuatu0.3 M3,190 USD77.577.577.5
Yemen29.8 M910 USD57.762.053.5
Zambia18.4 M1,160 USD67.163.570.7

Definition and criteria

Until 1990, countries were classified mainly on the basis of their average per capita income, but also industrial development and literacy rates. There were changes in this assessment in 1991 and again in 2009. As things stand at present, a least developed country meets the following conditions:
  • The average income in a 3-year average is less than 992 US dollars.
  • A least developed country should have less than 75 million inhabitants, although exceptions are made here, e.g. Ethiopia and Bangladesh.
  • The food situation in the country must be particularly drastic on the basis of the Human Assets Index (HAI). This includes data on nutrition, infant mortality and education.
  • The Economic Vulnerability Index (EVI) is a UN-created measure of economic vulnerability. It identifies particularly weak states.
Which countries are included in the list of the least developed countries is decided every three years by a United Nations (UN) committee.

Consequences of classification as a least developed country

Since the indicators are all collected and applied by the United Nations (UN), i.e. a community comprising all states, the classification as a least developed country is also internationally accepted. The UN has various support programmes that are explicitly aimed at these poorest countries. In addition, first and second world countries and also groups of countries such as the European Union have special subsidy programmes with which third world countries are subsidised. The states that are regarded as politically unstable are also well networked with each other, for example through the g7+ community.

Key figures in comparison

(All figures weighted according to population share.)
 Least developed countriesWorldUSA
Populations1.1 bn7.8 bn331.5 m
GNP per capita1,096 USD11,077 USD64,140 USD
Government debt (% of GDP)61.7 %93.9 %119.0 %
Expenditure on education (% of GDP)3.1 %3.7 %5.0 %
Unemployment rate6.2 %6.2 %5.5 %
Literacy rate64.9 %86.7 %0.0 %
Electricity access54.8 %90.5 %100.0 %
Birthrate30.7 ‰17.3 ‰10.9 ‰
Life expectancy65.6 Jahre72.7 Jahre77.3 Jahre

Former Fourth World countries

Newly industrialized countriesList of newly industrialized countriesList of all 10 countries that are currently counted among the newly industrialized economies
Heavily Indebted Poor CountriesList of the 36 Heavily Indebted Poor CountreisInformation on the 36 heavily indebted states that could not survive without subsidies.
Developing countriesList of 152 developing countries of the Third WorldList of all 152 developing countries (Third World) with below-average living standards