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Contrasts in development

Countries exhibit different levels of development. The factors which affect development may be economic, social, cultural or technical.

Measuring development

Studying development is about measuring how developed one country is compared to other countries, or to the same country in the past. Development measures how economically, socially, culturally or technologically advanced a country is. The two most important ways of measuring development are economic development and human development.

  • Economic development is a measure of a country's wealth and how it is generated (for example agriculture is considered less economically advanced then banking).
  • Human development measures the access the population has to wealth, jobs, education, nutrition, health, leisure and safety - as well as political and cultural freedom. Material elements, such as wealth and nutrition, are described as the standard of living [standard of living: How much wealth a group of people have and the goods and services available to them. Life expectancy and literacy rate may also be taken into account. ]. Health and leisure are often referred to as quality of life [quality of life: The level of well-being and enjoyment of life that people have. ].

For each of the images below, identify whether it is an economic or human development indicator.

An operating theatre

An operating theatre

Regions with high levels of development can be recognised by a high availability of medicines, health technology and educated workers.

Back to Development index

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