Top 25 Developed and Developing Countries

A wealthy nation isn't synonymous with a developed one

It's difficult to determine how best to quantify the difference between developed and developing countries. Although gross domestic product (GDP) is one of the most well-known values for assessing economic health, several other metrics can also be used to gauge a nation's development.

While some have the potential to be more accurate than others, none of them are inherently wrong to use. To further complicate matters, most countries are large, complex entities that can't be neatly categorized. As a result, there are several nations that exhibit characteristics of more than one category.

Even the experts have yet to agree on a consistent definition. For instance, the United Nations (UN) classifies countries as either developed economies, economies in transition, or developing economies, although it doesn't specify its basis for applying these groupings other than that they "reflect basic economic country conditions."

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), on the other hand, takes several different factors into account when determining whether a nation is an advanced economy, an emerging market and developing economy, or a low-income developing country. The World Bank uses gross national income (GNI) per capita for its measurements, and it has four different categories: high-income economies, upper middle-income economies, lower middle-income economies, and low-income economies.

The purpose of this article is to highlight the development status of the 25 largest countries on Earth by GDP. This metric was chosen to better illustrate how nations meeting the traditional criteria for being "wealthy" can still be considered developing. That being said, countries on this list have been categorized according to the UN's standards because its classification system is the closest to our definitions of "developed" and "developing."

Key Takeaways

  • Countries may be classified as either developed or developing based on the gross domestic product (GDP) or gross national income (GNI) per capita, the level of industrialization, the general standard of living, and the amount of technological infrastructure, among several other potential factors.
  • According to the United Nations (UN), a nation's development status is a reflection of its "basic economic country conditions."
  • The Human Development Index (HDI) is a metric developed by the United Nations that's used to assess the social and economic development levels of countries based on life expectancy, educational attainment, and income, which serves as an alternate means of assessing a nation's development status.
  • The United States was the richest developed country on Earth in 2021, with a total GDP of $23 trillion.
  • China was the richest developing country on Earth in 2021, with a total GDP of $17.73 trillion.

What Is a Developed Nation?

A nation is typically considered to be "developed" if it meets certain socioeconomic criteria. In some cases, this can be as simple as having a sufficiently developed economy. Where that isn't adequate, other qualifiers can include but are not limited to a country's GDP/GNI per capita, its level of industrialization, its general standard of living, and/or the amount of technological infrastructure it has. These factors are typically interconnected (i.e., the level of available technology can impact the amount of GDP a country is capable of generating, etc.).

According to the UN, in 2023, 36 countries were considered "developed." All developed countries were located in either North America, Europe, or "Developed Asia and Pacific."

Developed countries typically share several other characteristics:

  • Their birth and death rates are stable. They do not have very high birth rates because, thanks to quality medical care and high living standards, infant mortality rates are low. Families do not feel the need to have large numbers of children due to the expectation that some will not survive.
  • They have more women working. These career-oriented women may have chosen to have smaller families or eschew having children altogether.
  • They use a disproportionate amount of the world's resources. In developed countries, more people drive cars, fly on airplanes, and power their homes with electricity and gas. Inhabitants of developing countries often do not have access to technologies that require the use of these resources.
  • They have higher levels of debt. Nations with developing economies cannot obtain the kind of seemingly bottomless financing that more developed nations can.

What Is a Developing Nation?

A nation is typically considered to still be "developing" if it does not meet the socioeconomic criteria listed above. Simply put, these are most often countries with a lower income, an underdeveloped industrial base, a lower standard of living, and a lack of access to modern technology logy. As a result, developing nations frequently experience a lack of jobs, food, clean drinking water, education, healthcare, and housing.

According to the UN, in 2023, 126 countries were considered "developing." All developing countries were located in either Africa, Asia, or Latin America and the Caribbean.

Due to definitional discrepancies, countries such as Mexico, Greece, and Turkiye are considered developed by some organizations and developing by others.

Development status determines which countries have a right to receive development aid under the rules of a multilateral or bilateral agency, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO). This is likely the primary reason why there are so many varied definitions of "developed" versus "developing," as each organization has different qualifications for what should constitute the latter in order to receive their assistance.

This is also why even the terminology is inconsistent, as this binary is often insufficient for categorizing large, complex territories. For instance, the World Bank announced in 2016 that it would no longer be distinguishing between developing countries and developed countries, due to the terms no longer being considered relevant.

Which Countries Have the Highest GDP Per Capita?

GDP represents the total monetary or market value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country's borders in a specific time period. The calculation of a nation's GDP encompasses all private and public consumption, government outlays, investments, additions to private inventories, paid-in construction costs, and the foreign balance of trade.

While useful for acquiring a snapshot of the world's economic powerhouses, this metric by itself is typically insufficient. Every country is obviously going to have a different population, which means that looking exclusively at GDP can distort the truth and/or be so obvious as to be meaningless. Of course, a nation as large as China, with a total population of 1.4 billion people as of 2021, would have a larger GDP than a much smaller country like Ireland, which has a total population of five million.

GDP per capita is a much more relevant statistic for better illustrating how a hypothetical average citizen might experience a nation's economic output. GDP per capita, a tally of all the goods and services produced in a country in one year (as expressed in U.S. dollars) per person, is a useful metric for distinguishing developed countries from developing ones. GDP per capita is calculated by dividing a country's GDP by its total population.

For example, the population of China is approximately 280 times larger than the population of Ireland. Yet the typical Irish person ($100,172 in 2021) is nearly eight times richer than their Chinese counterpart ($12,556 in 2021), despite the fact that their country is so much smaller. The countries with the highest GDP per capita are often those with an unusual concentration of wealth.

What Does HDI Mean?

Another measuring device, the Human Development Index (HDI), was developed by the UN as a metric to assess the social and economic development levels of a given country. HDI quantifies life expectancy, educational attainment, and income into a standardized number between zero and one; the closer to one, the more developed the country. No minimum requirement exists for developed status, but most developed countries have HDIs of 0.8 or higher.

The life expectancy aspect of the HDI is calculated at the time of birth, which is equal to zero when life expectancy is 20 and equal to one when life expectancy is 85. Education is measured according to the mean years of schooling for residents of a country and the expected years of schooling that a child has at the average age for starting school. Finally, the metric chosen to represent the standard of living is GNI (gross national income) per capita based on purchasing power parity (PPP).

This index is useful for examining the impact of policy choices made by each nation. For example, if two countries have approximately the same GNI per capita but wildly different HDI scores, then it stands to reason that these disparities could stem from policies regarding life expectancy, educational attainment, or another factor unrelated to economic health.

It's important to remember no set minimums or maximums exist for these metrics. Economists look at the totality of a country's situation before rendering judgment, and they do not always agree on a country's development status.

Development Status of the Top 25 Countries by GDP

Here is our analysis of the development status of the top 25 countries by GDP as of 2021, organized alphabetically. Of this total, 15 countries are considered "developed," nine are considered "developing," and one is considered "in transition."



  • GDP (2021): $1.55 trillion
  • Population (2021): 25.69 million
  • GDP per Capita (2021): $60,443
  • HDI (2021): 0.951

Australia is a developed country.

The Land Down Under has widespread industrialization and provides quality healthcare for the majority of its citizens. Australians also enjoy a higher quality of life than some other countries; according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), citizens on average graded their life satisfaction as 7.5 out of 10, which is reasonably better than the 6.7 global average. Australia is one of the wealthiest Asia–Pacific nations, enjoying several years of economic growth.

As of 2020, Australia has a high average life expectancy of 83 years, much of which can be attributed to its excellent healthcare system. The country's infant mortality rate is three per 1,000 live births, one of the lowest rates in the world (based on 2021 data).



  • GDP (2021): $594.1 billion
  • Population (2021): 11.59 million
  • GDP per Capita (2021): $51,247
  • HDI (201): 0.937

Belgium is a developed country.

The Kingdom of Belgium has a life satisfaction rating of 6.5.

At 77.2%, the services sector accounted for the largest portion of the country's GDP according to the CIA World Factbook. Belgium lacks an abundance of natural resources, making it heavily reliant on imports of raw materials; however, given its central geographic location, highly developed transport network, and diversified industrial and commercial base, the country is well suited to act as a major exporter of manufactured goods.

As of 2020, the country's average life expectancy was 81 years from birth, while its infant mortality rate was three deaths per 1,000 live births (based on 2021 data).



  • GDP (2021): $1.61 trillion
  • Population (2021): 214.33 million
  • GDP per Capita (2021): $7,507
  • HDI (2021): 0.754

Brazil is a developing country.

Though it has several characteristics of a developed nation, including the largest economy in South America or Central America, Brazil is still considered a developing country due to its lower GDP per capita, higher infant mortality rate, and other factors.

Its high birth rate, at 13 births per 1,000 people in 2020, is also a common characteristic of a developing country. Several factors contribute to all of these metrics, including lack of clean water; limited access to adequate healthcare, particularly in rural areas; abysmal housing conditions in many regions; and substandard diets.

A Brazilian's average life expectancy, at 74 years since birth as of 2020, ranks higher than that of some other developing countries, though it's just barely above the global average of 72 years.



  • GDP (2021): $1.99 trillion
  • Population (2021): 38.25 million
  • GDP per Capita (2021): $51,988
  • HDI (2021): 0.936

Canada is a developed country.

As the 9th-largest world economy on the basis of GDP, Canada has a diverse economic base. It has a wealth of natural resources, including oil, gas, and coal. As such, the country is able to support its own energy needs as well as export natural resources to other countries.

In spite of this fact, Canada is also a world leader in the production and use of renewable energy sources, which provide approximately 18.9% of the country's overall energy supply, while moving water specifically accounts for 59.3% of its electricity. Canada's proximity to the United States and a favorable exchange rate have also contributed to a strong manufacturing climate in the country.

Canadians enjoy universal healthcare coverage, with all residents having access to free medical care through a government-provided program. As of 2020, the country's average life expectancy was 82 years, while its infant mortality rate was four deaths per 1,000 live births (based on 2021 data).



  • GDP (2021): $17.73 trillion
  • Population (2021): 1.41 billion
  • GDP per Capita (2021): $12,556
  • HDI (2021): 0.768

China is a developing country.

Despite having the world's second-largest economy and the largest military, China is still not classified as a developed country by the criteria of most organizations. In addition to having one of the lowest GDPs per capita on this list, another attribute indicating that China is still developing is its dependence on agriculture, although this has been trending downward over time.

According to the CIA World Factbook, 7.9% of China's overall GDP was derived from agriculture. As of 2020, China's average life expectancy was 78 years and its infant mortality rate was five per 1,000 live births (based on 2021 data). Although these rates aren't exceptionally high, they are noticeably worse than most other countries with trillions of dollars in overall wealth.



  • GDP (2021): $2.96 trillion
  • Population (2021): 67.75 million
  • GDP per Capita (2021): $43,659
  • HDI (2021): 0.903

France is a developed country.

The French Republic is one of the world's economic powerhouses. As of 2021, France has the seventh-largest economy by GDP. The country benefits from a diverse economy, including tourism, manufacturing, and pharmaceuticals. Even though the French government has partially or fully privatized many prominent companies, it still has a strong presence in its power, public transport, and defense sectors.

As of 2020, French citizens enjoyed a higher-than-average life expectancy of 82 years since birth and a low infant mortality rate of three deaths per 1,000 live births (based on 2021 data). The French healthcare system combines universal access to care with a substantial amount of freedom for patients, with surveys showing that citizens are overall satisfied with their country's system.



  • GDP (2021): $4.26 trillion
  • Population (2021): 83.2 million
  • GDP per Capita (2021): $51,204
  • HDI (2021): 0.942

Germany is a developed country.

Driven by its highly skilled labor force, Germany is Europe's strongest economy, and it is the fourth-largest economy in the world. The nation is known for delivering world-class quality products, including machinery, motor vehicles, electronics, and pharmaceuticals.

In 2019, Germany was second only to China as the world's largest surplus economy, with its exported products exceeding its imported products. This, however, changed in May 2022 for the first time since 1991, due to rising energy and food prices. However, by the year's end, the country had regained it's surplus economy. As of 2020, Germany had a life expectancy of 81 years since birth as well as an infant mortality rate of only three deaths per 1,000 live births (based on 2021 data).

German citizens enjoy access to universal healthcare coverage. All Germans must belong to a not-for-profit sickness fund that covers most necessary medical procedures and medications.



  • GDP (2021): $3.18 trillion
  • Population (2021): 1.41 billion
  • GDP per Capita (2021): $2,257
  • HDI (2021): 0.633

India is a developing country.

Although India is an exceptionally wealthy country (ranked sixth in terms of overall GDP), like China, its high population results in a rather low GDP per capita. The Republic of India is considered both a newly industrialized nation and one of the fastest developing countries on Earth; however, the country continues to struggle with issues like widespread poverty, poor water and sanitation, and overpopulation.

India hosts a diverse economy, ranging from traditional farming to contemporary agriculture, and handicrafts to a wide range of industrial products. Thanks to a large and well-educated English-speaking population, India is a major exporter of IT services, business outsourcing services, and software workers. As of 2020, India had a life expectancy of 70 years since birth as well as an extremely high infant mortality rate of 26 deaths per 1,000 live births (based on 2021 data).



  • GDP (2021): $1.19 trillion
  • Population (2021): 273.75 million
  • GDP per Capita (2021): $4,333
  • HDI (2021): 0.705

Indonesia is a developing country.

The Republic of Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim-majority country and Southeast Asia's largest economy. The nation's key exports include rubber, animal and vegetable fat, mineral fuels, machinery, electrical machinery, and mechanical appliance parts. A unique aspect of Indonesia's quality of life is that the country lies within the Pacific Ring of Fire, which is responsible for 90% of earthquakes and has 75% of the world's active volcanoes.

In addition to natural disaster hazards, the nation also faces challenges more common to developing countries, with 18 million Indonesians lacking safe water, 20 million lacking access to improved sanitation facilities, and 22.9 million being unable to meet their dietary requirements. As of 2020, Indonesia had a life expectancy of 69 years since birth, as well as a high infant mortality rate of 19 deaths per 1,000 live births (based on 2021 data).

Irish flag

JoeGough / Getty Images


  • GDP (2021): $504.18 billion
  • Population (2021): 5.03 million
  • GDP per Capita (2021): $100,172
  • HDI (2021): 0.945

Ireland is a developed country.

Given its relatively high GDP and small population, Ireland has the fifth-highest GDP per capita of any nation on Earth. The country has benefited from large, multinational corporations setting up shop in the country due to favorable tax treatments; however, as of 2021, the country has plans to increase taxes to align with Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCED) agreements.

The country is primarily a services country, with the sector making up 60% of GDP. Industry makes up 39%, with the remainder being agriculture. Ireland has a life expectancy age of 82 and a mortality rate of three deaths per 1,000 births.



  • GDP (2021): $2.11 trillion
  • Population (2021): 59.11 million
  • GDP per Capita (2021): $35,658
  • HDI (2021): 0.895

Italy is a developed country.

Italy's manufacturing industry is very well developed, and it is ranked seventh on Earth according to the World Economic Forum. In particular, Italy is known for producing high-quality luxury products, such as fashion accessories, expensive cars, and food products. Nearly 74% of Italy's workers are employed in the services sector, while just over 2% work in agriculture, which is a strong indicator that this nation is developed.

Italy is ranked eighth in the world for overall GDP. The present-day commercial banking industry had its beginning in Italy, and today the nation's largest financial services company, Intesa Sanpaolo is regularly ranked on the Fortune 500 list. As of 2020, the country's average life expectancy was 82 years from birth, while its infant mortality rate was a low two deaths per 1,000 live births (based on 2021 data).



  • GDP (2021): $4.91 trillion
  • Population (2021): 125.68 million
  • GDP per Capita (2021): $39,313
  • HDI (2021): 0.925

Japan is a developed country.

Despite its smaller size compared to other economically healthy countries, such as France or Sweden, Japan is the third wealthiest nation on Earth in terms of overall GDP. Almost 70% of the nation's workforce was in the services sector, while approximately 1.1% was in agriculture.

The archipelago is heavily dependent on imports of natural resources, and it is the world's largest net buyer of food products, the largest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG), and the third-largest coal importer. As of 2020, Japan has an average life expectancy of 85 years from birth and an exceptionally low infant mortality rate of two deaths per 1,000 live births (based on 2021 data).



  • GDP (2021): $1.27 trillion
  • Population (2021): 126.71 million
  • GDP per Capita (2021): $10,046
  • HDI (2021): 0.758

Mexico is a developing country.

Mexico's development status is despite the fact that it exceeds the majority of its peers in the developing world on most economic and quality-of-life metrics. In fact, according to the CIA World Factbook, Mexico's economy wasn't heavily reliant on agriculture, at just 3.6%, while its services and industry sectors were much larger.

Various other factors come close to, but don't quite hit, acceptable levels for developed-nation status. A life expectancy of 70 years since birth, as of 2020, ranks Mexico higher than most developing countries, but it still falls below its North American neighbors. The story is the same for the infant mortality rate, which was 11 per 1,000 live births that same year. In addition, Mexico is plagued by large swaths of poverty, lack of quality healthcare, and limited access to clean water.


The Netherlands

  • GDP (2021): $1.01 trillion
  • Population (2021): 17.53 million
  • GDP per Capita (2021): $57,768
  • HDI (2021): 0.941

The Netherlands is a developed country.

This nation demonstrates relative strength across all the metrics and combines a robust economy with a high standard of living for the majority of its residents. In 2017, the Dutch were the fourth-lowest population at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the European Union. As of 2020, the Netherlands had a life expectancy of 81 years since birth as well as an infant mortality rate of four deaths per 1,000 live births (as of 2021 data).

According to the OECD, the Netherlands fares well in providing its citizens with the tools necessary to build a high quality of life. Although the country is below average in environmental quality, the health and life expectancy for residents are in line with other developed countries. The Netherlands also ranks very highly in terms of work/life balance, with almost 0% of residents reporting that they work long hours in comparison with the global average of 10%.



  • GDP (2021): $679.44 billion
  • Population (2021): 37.75 million
  • GDP per Capita (2021): $18,000
  • HDI (2021): 0.876

Poland is a developed country.

The Republic of Poland, as of 2020, is the sixth-largest country in the EU by GDP. A Soviet satellite state until 1989, the country has nearly completed its transformation into a democratic and market-oriented economy. Thanks to its strong economy, Poland is expected to quickly rebound once the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end.

Like many developed nations, Poland offers both free healthcare and higher education for its citizens. As of 2021, the country's infant mortality rate was four per 1,000 live births, while the life expectancy rate was 77 years since birth (as of 2020 data). The country also has 17 properties recognized on the UNESCO World Heritage List, only one of which isn't a cultural site.



  • GDP (2021): $1.78 trillion
  • Population (2021): 143.45 million
  • GDP per Capita (2021): $12,195
  • HDI (2021): 0.876

Russia is a country in transition.

Russia is not currently classified as a developed country, though it once reigned alongside the United States as a world superpower. The country's economy fell apart with the 1991 implosion of the Soviet Union. Recently, the country's war on Ukraine has adversely impacted its economy due to sanctions imposed by other nations.

Poverty is widespread (at 13% of the population; the majority of whom are children) and life satisfaction is low (with Russian citizens on average giving it a 2.1 out of 10). As is typical of a non-developed country, the exportation of natural resources fuels much of Russia's economy.

Russia is borderline at best on most developed-country metrics. Its infant mortality rate is four per 1,000, while life expectancy is 71 years since birth.


Saudi Arabia

  • GDP (2021): $833.54 billion
  • Population (2021): 35.95 million
  • GDP per Capita (2021): $23,186
  • HDI (2021): 0.875

Saudi Arabia is a developing country.

On a purely monetary level, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is rather successful when compared to other developing countries. It was the largest economy in the Middle East in terms of GDP in 2021; however, its economy lacks diversification. Over 87% of government revenue is derived from oil exports, making Saudi Arabia the world's largest exporter of petroleum.

Additionally, according to a 2020 Amnesty International report, the government has been heavily criticized for numerous human rights abuses, with nearly all known Saudi Arabian human rights defenders within the country having been detained or imprisoned.

As of 2020, Saudi Arabians had an average life expectancy of 76 years since birth as well as an infant mortality rate of six deaths per 1,000 live births (as of 2021).


South Korea

  • GDP (2021): $1.81 trillion
  • Population (2021): 51.74 million
  • GDP per Capita (2021): $34,998
  • HDI (2021): 0.925

South Korea is a developing country.

The country has a strong GDP and offers its citizens widespread access to quality healthcare and higher education. Following several decades of rapid economic growth and global integration, the Republic of Korea has become a high-technology and industrialized nation, with its most important sectors being electronics, telecommunications, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding, and steel.

That said, the country is reliant on exports and is currently facing other major challenges, such as an aging population and low worker productivity. Life expectancy in 2020 was an impressive 83 years since birth. The infant mortality rate is three per 1,000 live births, as of 2021.



  • GDP (2021): $1.43 trillion
  • Population (2021): 47.42 million
  • GDP per Capita (2021): $30,104
  • HDI (2021): 0.905

Spain is a developed country.

Nearly all organizations that analyze development status classify Spain as such. The country has a strong GDP, a 99% literacy rate, and a healthcare system that's one of the best in the world.

Since returning to a democratic system in 1975, Spain has become the eurozone's fourth-largest economy, with a diverse assortment of industries including manufacturing, financial services, pharmaceuticals, textiles and apparel, footwear, chemicals, and tourism.

Spain's infant mortality and life expectancy numbers are excellent; an estimated three infants died per 1,000 live births in 2021, and the average Spaniard lived to 82 years (based on 2020 data).



  • GDP (2021): $635.66 billion
  • Population (2021): 10.42 million
  • GDP per Capita (2021): $61,029
  • HDI (2021): 0.947

Sweden is a developed country.

Sweden is one of the most highly developed post-industrial societies in the world. Sweden's life expectancy is at 82 years since birth, while infant mortality is two deaths per 1,000 live births.

Although Sweden has the highest income tax rate in the world, the country is also known for having a high quality of life and a low unemployment rate of roughly 8.7% in 2021.

Additionally, Swedish citizens have free access to healthcare and higher education. The average Swede enjoys nearly 20 years of education. As a society, Sweden places great importance on environmental sustainability as well.



  • GDP (2021): $800.64 billion
  • Population (2021): 8.70 million
  • GDP per Capita (2021): $91,992
  • HDI (2021): 0.962

Switzerland is a developed country.

According to the World Bank, Switzerland has the sixth-highest GDP per capita and the second-highest of the countries on this list. This can be attributed to the country's highly skilled labor force, which helps compensate for its smaller population.

The country's largest economic sectors are financial services, precision manufacturing, metals, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and electronics. Switzerland has a universal healthcare system while also preserving a private marketplace.

As of 2020, the country's average life expectancy was an excellent 83 years, with an infant mortality rate of three per 1,000 live births (based on 2021 data).



  • GDP (2021): $505.95 billion
  • Population (2021): 71.60 million
  • GDP per Capita (2021): $7,066
  • HDI (2021): 0.800

Thailand is a developing country.

The Kingdom of Thailand is the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia. Thailand has a free-market economy, with a relatively well-developed infrastructure. About two-thirds of the country's GDP is derived from exports of electronics, agricultural commodities, automobiles and parts, processed foods, and other goods.

Over the last four decades, the country has moved from a low-income to an upper-income country by making substantial progress in social and economic development. The country's average life expectancy was above average at 79 years, while its infant mortality rate was a fairly high seven per 1,000 live births.


Turkiye (Turkey)

  • GDP (2021): $819.04 billion
  • Population (2021): 84.78 million
  • GDP per Capita (2021): $9,661
  • HDI (2021): 0.838

Turkiye is a developing country.

Turkiye is perhaps the best example of a country that straddles the line between developed and developing. In the past, the UN has classified it as a developed country. Today, most groups, including Turkiye itself, agree on the country's status as a developing nation.

Confounding the issue are Turkiye's GDP, infant mortality rate, and life expectancy, all of which hover in the gray area. Its infant mortality rate of eight per 1,000 live births, as of 2021, is lower than some other developing countries, but it's still fairly high. Conversely, the country's life expectancy is 76 years from birth (based on 2020 data).


United Kingdom

  • GDP (2021): $3.13 trillion
  • Population (2021): 67.33 million
  • GDP per Capita (2021): $46,510
  • HDI (2021): 0.929

The United Kingdom is a developed country.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was the fifth-largest country by GDP in 2020, with Great Britain being the first industrialized country in history. GDP growth is heavily reliant on the services sector, particularly banking, insurance, and business services, whereas large oil and natural gas reserves are shrinking.

In 2016, British citizens voted in favor of departing from the European Union—a decision that became known as Brexit. The U.K. formally left the EU on Jan. 31, 2020, although there wasn't a proper trade agreement between the two entities until a provisional one was approved by the European Parliament on April 28, 2021. As of 2020, the country's average life expectancy was a solid 81 years, while its infant mortality rate was quite low at four per 1,000 live births (based on 2021 data).


United States

  • GDP (2021): $23.32 trillion
  • Population (2021): 331.89 million
  • GDP per Capita (2021): $70,249
  • HDI (2021): 0.921

The United States is a developed country.

As of 2021, the United States was the wealthiest country on Earth in terms of total GDP, which is 24% of the world's entire wealth. The U.S. is both the largest goods importer and the second-largest exporter, making it the world's largest trading nation. Additionally, as of 2022, America has the third-largest military in terms of personnel.

However, despite its wealth and high HDI score, the U.S. has also been heavily criticized for traits more commonly seen in developing nations, such as it being the only developed country without universal healthcare, having a poverty rate higher than any other industrialized nation, and its infrastructure being in severe need of repair and overhaul. As of 2020, the country's average life expectancy was 77 years from birth, while its infant mortality rate was five deaths per 1,000 live births (based on 2021 data).

What Defines a Developed Nation?

A developed nation is defined as one where citizens have easy access to quality healthcare and education, advanced technology and infrastructure, diverse and well-balanced economic sectors, such as industrial, service, and agriculture, and a relatively high gross domestic product (GDP) and GDP per capita.

What Is an Example of a Developed Nation?

Examples of developed nations include the United States, the United Kingdom, and the majority of Western and Northern Europe, such as Germany, France, Denmark, and Sweden.

What Is the Most Developed Country in the World?

According to the United Nation Development Programme's Human Development Insights report, Switzerland is the most developed country in the world, with the highest HDI value: 0.962.

Article Sources
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  17. The World Bank. "Population, Total."

  18. The World Bank. "GDP per Capita (Current US$)."

  19. Economic History Association. "The Economic History of Australia from 1788: An Introduction."

  20. Australian Government: Department of Health. "The Australian Health System."

  21. OECD Better Life Index. "Australia."

  22. 2023 Index of Economic Freedom. "Australia."

  23. The World Bank. "Life Expectancy at Birth, Total (Years)."

  24. The World Bank. "Mortality Rate, Infant (per 1,000 Live Births)."

  25. OECD Better Life Index. "Belgium."

  26. The CIA World Factbook. "Belgium."

  27. 2023 Index of Economic Freedom. "Belgium."

  28. One World Nations Online. "Belgium."

  29. The World Bank. "GDP (Current US$) - Latin America & Caribbean."

  30. The World Bank. "Birth Rate, Crude (per 1,000 People)."

  31. "Brazil's Water and Sanitation Crisis."

  32. World Health Organization. "Flawed but Fair: Brazil's Health System Reaches Out to the Poor," Download PDF.

  33. The Borgen Project. "Crossing Streets: Social Divides and Urbanization in Brazil."

  34. SciELO. "Food Intake and Meal Patterns of Adolescents, São Paulo, Brazil."

  35. Government of Canada. "Natural Resources Canada."

  36. Government of Canada. "Energy Sources and Distribution."

  37. Government of Canada. "About Renewable Energy."

  38. Xe. "1 USD to CAD - Convert US Dollars to Canadian Dollars."

  39. Government of Canada. "Canada's Health Care System."

  40. The CIA World Factbook. "Military and Security Service Personnel Strengths."

  41. Columbia, SIPA Center on Global Energy Policy. "Is China Still a Developing Country? And Why It Matters for Energy and Climate," Click Read Full Report.

  42. The CIA World Factbook. "China."

  43. 2023 Index of Economic Freedom. "France."

  44. Physicians for a National Health Program. "The French Health Care System."

  45. Eurostat. "Extra-Euro Area Trade in Goods," Click "Main Partners for Extra-Euro Area Trade."

  46. The CIA World Factbook. "Germany."

  47. Springer Nature. "A Tale of Two Surplus Countries: China and Germany: Abstract."

  48. Statistisches Bundesamt (The Federal Statistical Office). "Press Exports in May 2022: -0.5% on April 2022."

  49. The Commonwealth Fund. "International Health Care System Profiles: Germany."

  50. "List of Newly Industrialized Countries."

  51. The Borgen Project. "Top 5 Fastest Developing Countries."

  52. SOS Children's Village. "Poverty in India: Facts and Figures on the Daily Struggle for Survival."

  53. "India."

  54. Millennium Alliance for Humanity and Biosphere. "Overpopulation in India."

  55. 2023 Index of Economic Freedom. "India."

  56. 2023 Index of Economic Freedom. "Indonesia."

  57. National Geographic. "The Ring of Fire."

  58. "Indonesia."

  59. United Nations World Food Programme. "Indonesia."

  60. Government of Ireland. "Ireland Joins OECD International Tax Agreement."

  61. The CIA World Factbook. "Ireland."

  62. World Economic Forum. "These Are the Top 10 Manufacturing Countries in the World."

  63. One World Nations Online. "Italy."

  64. The CIA World Factbook. "Italy."

  65. Roussakis, Emmanuel N. "Global Banking: Origins and Evolution." Revista de Administração de Empresas, vol. 37, no. 4, Oct./Dec. 1997, pp. 46-47.

  66. Fortune. "Intesa Sanpaolo."

  67. The CIA World Factbook. "Country Comparisons: Area."

  68. The CIA World Factbook. "Japan"

  69. International Trade Administration. "Japan - Market Overview."

  70. The CIA World Factbook. "Mexico."

  71. The World Bank. "Poverty & Equity Brief: Mexico," Page 1.

  72. Puig A, Pagán and JA, Wong R. "Assessing Quality Across Healthcare Subsystems in Mexico." J Ambul Care Manage, vol. 32, no. 2, Apr/Jun 2009, pp.123-31.

  73. "Mexico."

  74. OECD Better Life Index. "Netherlands."

  75. The Netherlands on the European Scale 2019. "Poverty."

  76. The World Bank. "GDP (Current US$) - European Union."

  77. The CIA World Factbook. "Poland."

  78. 2023 Index of Economic Freedom. "Poland."

  79. The World Bank. "Polish Economy Returns to Growth Amidst Pandemic-Related Setbacks."

  80. European Commission. "Poland - Healthcare."

  81. Ready, Study Go! Poland. "Tuition Fees."

  82. UNESCO. "Poland."

  83. The CIA World Factbook. "Russia."

  84. 2023 Index of Economic Freedom. "Russia."

  85. The Borgen Project. "Child Poverty in Russia."

  86. OECD Better Life Index. "Russian Federation."

  87. U.S. Energy Information Administration. "Russia."

  88. The World Bank. "GDP (Current US$) - Middle East & North Africa."

  89. 2023 Index of Economic Freedom. "Saudi Arabia."

  90. Amnesty International. "Saudi Arabia 2022."

  91. OECDiLibrary. "OECD Reviews of Public Health: Korea: A Healthier Tomorrow."

  92. OECD: Education GPS. "Korea."

  93. The CIA World Factbook. "Korea, South."

  94. 2023 Index of Economic Freedom. "South Korea."

  95. The World Bank. "Literacy Rate, Adult Total (% of People Ages 15 and Above) - Spain."

  96. InterNations GO! "Health Insurance and the Healthcare System of Spain Explained."

  97. The CIA World Factbook. "Spain."

  98. OECD.Stat. "Table I.7. Top Statutory Personal Income Tax Rates."

  99. OECD Better Life Index. "Sweden."

  100. The World Bank. "Unemployment, Total (% of Total Labor Force) (National Estimate)."

  101. The CIA World Factbook. "Sweden."

  102. Swedish Institute. "Swedish Healthcare is Largely Tax-Funded. And the Overall Quality is High."

  103. The Official Site of Sweden. "Saving the Climate."

  104. The CIA World Factbook. "Switzerland."

  105. The Commonwealth Fund. "International Health Care System Profiles: Switzerland."

  106. The Asia Foundation. "Thailand."

  107. 2023 Index of Economic Freedom. "Thailand."

  108. The World Bank. "The World Bank in Thailand."

  109. The Economic Times. "Turkey Bids to Change Its Status From a Developed Country to a Developing One."

  110. Oklahoma State University Library via Pressbooks. "People, Places, and Cultures: Chapter 7.1 The Industrial Revolution."

  111. Moody's Analytics. "Gas Explosion: What Caused the 2021 UK Energy Crisis?"

  112. 2023 Index of Economic Freedom. "United Kingdom."

  113. The New York Times. "Brexit Trade Deal Gets a Final OK From E.U. Parliament."

  114. Office of the United States Trade Representative. "Countries & Regions."

  115. WorldAtlas. "10 Countries Without Universal Healthcare."

  116. Confronting Poverty. "Why Is Poverty Higher in the U.S. Than in Other Countries?"

  117. Council on Foreign Relations. "The State of U.S. Infrastructure."

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