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Geography

Contrasts in development

Development indicators

There is no single way to calculate the level of development because of the variety of economies, cultures and peoples. Geographers use a series of development indicators to compare the development of one region against another. For example:

  1. Health. Do the population have access to medical care? What level of healthcare is available - basic or advanced? Is it free?
  2. Industry. What type of industry dominates? LEDCs [LEDC: A Less Economically Developed Country (LEDC) has low levels of development, based on economic indicators, such as gross domestic product (the country's income). ] focus on primary industries, such as farming, fishing and mining. MEDCs [MEDC: A More Economically Developed Country (MEDC) has high levels of development based on economic indicators such as gross domestic product (the country's income). ] focus on secondary industries, such as manufacturing. The most advanced countries tend to focus more on tertiary or service industries, such as banking and information technology.
  3. Education. Do the population have access to education? Is it free? What level of education is available (ie primary, secondary or further/higher education)?

The North South Divide

MEDCs are countries which have a high 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. ] and a large GDP [GDP: Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measures the wealth or income of a country. It is the total value of goods and services produced by a country in a year. ]. LEDCs are countries with a low standard of living and a much lower GDP.

The map shows the locations of LEDCs and MEDCs. Most of the southern hemisphere is less developed, while countries in the northern hemisphere are more developed.

The North/South divide between MEDCs and LEDCs

The North/South divide between MEDCs and LEDCs

Back to Development index

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