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 1.01 billion people, account for 13.32% 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).
CountryPopulationGNI per capitaHuman Asset IndexHealth IndexEducational Index
Afghanistan37.2 M550 USD48.466.929.9
Angola30.8 M3,370 USD52.567.237.9
Bangladesh161.4 M1,750 USD73.284.761.6
Benin11.5 M870 USD49.868.231.3
Bhutan0.8 M3,080 USD72.983.262.6
Burkina Faso19.8 M660 USD42.966.319.5
Burma53.7 M1,310 USD68.580.356.6
Burundi11.2 M280 USD38.534.542.4
Cambodia16.2 M1,380 USD68.985.852.1
Central African Republic4.7 M480 USD17.422.811.9
Chad15.5 M670 USD22.137.36.9
Comoros0.8 M1,320 USD49.454.744.1
Democratic Republic of the Congo84.1 M490 USD41.930.453.3
Djibouti1.0 M2,180 USD58.078.537.6
East Timor1.3 M1,820 USD66.674.059.3
Eritrea6.0 M720 USD42.947.937.9
Ethiopia109.2 M790 USD45.367.323.3
Gambia2.3 M700 USD51.866.037.7
Guinea12.4 M830 USD39.558.320.7
Guinea-Bissau1.9 M750 USD41.756.127.3
Haiti11.1 M800 USD48.055.440.6
Kiribati0.1 M3,140 USD84.088.779.2
Laos7.1 M2,460 USD72.877.068.5
Lesotho2.1 M1,380 USD61.664.458.7
Liberia4.8 M600 USD37.247.327.1
Madagascar26.3 M440 USD54.562.246.8
Malawi18.1 M360 USD52.561.743.3
Mali19.1 M830 USD43.163.422.8
Mauritania4.4 M1,190 USD46.968.825.1
Mozambique29.5 M440 USD45.862.129.5
Nepal28.1 M960 USD71.286.356.2
Niger22.4 M380 USD35.464.86.0
Rwanda12.3 M780 USD55.066.243.7
Sao Tome and Principe0.2 M1,890 USD86.086.385.8
Senegal15.9 M1,410 USD57.180.433.9
Sierra Leone7.7 M500 USD27.431.423.4
Solomon Islands0.7 M2,000 USD74.888.860.8
Somalia15.0 M--16.723.310.0
South Sudan11.0 M460 USD25.850.41.2
Sudan41.8 M1,560 USD53.068.937.2
Tanzania56.3 M1,020 USD56.064.447.6
Togo7.9 M650 USD61.873.050.7
Tuvalu0.0 M5,430 USD90.191.488.9
Uganda42.7 M620 USD50.263.037.5
Vanuatu0.3 M2,970 USD78.593.363.7
Yemen28.5 M960 USD59.267.051.4
Zambia17.4 M1,430 USD58.660.456.8



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: 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.

Former Fourth World countries