Least developed countries

From Academic Kids

The category of least developed countries (LDCs) is a social/economic classification status applied to around 50 countries around the world by political scientists and economists through the United Nations. They are sometimes referred to as the Fourth World.



The term is sometimes used - incorrectly - as synonymous with "developing countries" or other synonyms of "lesser developed countries" such as "third world nations". There is a distinction between "less developed countries" and "least developed countries"; the latter is even less developed than the former. The United Nations maintains the official list of countries defined as least developed.

Many contemporary scholars make careful note of the distinction, arguing that terms like "third world" are outdated or irrelevant. However, others have used the term "fourth world countries" to refer to least developed countries. The term "third world" in particular dates from the era when many nations declined to throw strong support behind either the "first world" of the United States and NATO or the "second world" — the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact.


Often abbreviated as LDCs, the term is sometimes written as LLDCs to avoid confusion with Less Developed Countries, but this too may cause confusion with the "Landlocked developing countries," which the UN abbreviates as LLDCs. Partly as a result, the term "Less Developed Country" is now generally deprecated in favour of "developing country".


As the name suggests, LDCs are generally poor, underdeveloped countries, often marred by widespread conflict and political instability. Such countries are usually run by incompetent yet brutal dictatorships, and have very little democracy or freedom. They are commonly marred by ethnic clashes and lasting legacies of colonialism. Almost half of LDCs are in Sub-Saharan Africa.

At the last review (2003), the UN defined LDCs based on 3 criteria, with a country needing to meet all three to be considered an LDC. One of the criteria is based on a three-year average estimate of the gross national income (GNI) per capita, where income is under $750. Countries with populations over 75m are excluded.[1] (

Current LDCs

Asia (10 Countries)

Africa (34 Countries)

Oceania (5 Countries)

Caribbean (1 Country)

See also

fr:Pays les moins avancés ja:最貧国

External Link

Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, United Nations (


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools