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 1.00 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
Afghanistan35.5 M560 USD48.466.929.9
Angola29.8 M3,570 USD52.567.237.9
Bangladesh164.7 M1,470 USD73.284.761.6
Benin11.2 M800 USD49.868.231.3
Bhutan0.8 M2,660 USD72.983.262.6
Burkina Faso19.2 M590 USD42.966.319.5
Burma53.4 M1,210 USD68.580.356.6
Burundi10.9 M280 USD38.534.542.4
Cambodia16.0 M1,230 USD68.985.852.1
Central African Republic4.7 M390 USD17.422.811.9
Chad14.9 M640 USD22.137.36.9
Comoros0.8 M1,280 USD49.454.744.1
Democratic Republic of the Congo81.3 M460 USD41.930.453.3
Djibouti1.0 M1,880 USD58.078.537.6
East Timor1.3 M1,790 USD66.674.059.3
Eritrea6.0 M520 USD42.947.937.9
Ethiopia105.0 M740 USD45.367.323.3
Gambia2.1 M680 USD51.866.037.7
Guinea12.7 M790 USD39.558.320.7
Guinea-Bissau1.9 M660 USD41.756.127.3
Haiti11.0 M760 USD48.055.440.6
Kiribati0.1 M3,010 USD84.088.779.2
Laos6.9 M2,270 USD72.877.068.5
Lesotho2.2 M1,210 USD61.664.458.7
Liberia4.7 M620 USD37.247.327.1
Madagascar25.6 M400 USD54.562.246.8
Malawi18.6 M320 USD52.561.743.3
Mali18.5 M770 USD43.163.422.8
Mauritania4.4 M1,100 USD46.968.825.1
Mozambique29.7 M420 USD45.862.129.5
Nepal29.3 M800 USD71.286.356.2
Niger21.5 M360 USD35.464.86.0
Rwanda12.2 M720 USD55.066.243.7
Sao Tome and Principe0.2 M1,770 USD86.086.385.8
Senegal15.9 M1,240 USD57.180.433.9
Sierra Leone7.6 M510 USD27.431.423.4
Solomon Islands0.6 M1,920 USD74.888.860.8
Somalia14.7 M--16.723.310.0
South Sudan12.6 M390 USD25.850.41.2
Sudan40.5 M2,380 USD53.068.937.2
Tanzania57.3 M920 USD56.064.447.6
Togo7.8 M610 USD61.873.050.7
Tuvalu0.0 M4,970 USD90.191.488.9
Uganda42.9 M600 USD50.263.037.5
Vanuatu0.3 M2,920 USD78.593.363.7
Yemen28.3 M1,250 USD59.267.051.4
Zambia17.1 M1,290 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