Learn more about Developed country
A developed country is a term used to categorise countries with developed economies, ones in which the tertiary and quaternary sectors of industry dominate. This level of economic development usually translates into a high income per capita, and a high Human Development Index (HDI). Countries with high gross domestic product (GDP) per capita often fit the previous description of a developed economy; however, anomalies exist when determining "developed" status by the factor GDP/cap alone.
Modern terms synonymous with the term developed country include industrialised countries, more developed countries (MDC) and more economically developed countries (MEDC). The term industrialised country may be ambiguous, as industrialisation is an ongoing process that is hard to define. The term MEDC is one used by modern geographers to specifically describe the status of the countries referred to: more economically developed.
Outdated terms that are sometimes still used to describe the developed/developing country dichotomy are First World/Third World (the term Second World refers to communist states during and since the Cold War); and North/South. The term Western countries has a similar meaning, but its connotations restrict its usage, especially in Asia Pacific.
According to the United Nations definition there is no established convention for the designation of "developed" and "developing" countries or areas. In common practice, Japan in Asia, Canada and the United States in North America, Australia and New Zealand in Oceania, and Europe are considered "developed" regions or areas. In international trade statistics, the Southern African Customs Union is also treated as a developed region and Israel as a developed country; and countries of eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union ( U.S.S.R.) countries in Europe are not included under either developed or developing regions. Nowadays this group would presumably also cover the East Asian Tigers (South Korea, the Republic of China [Taiwan], Hong Kong, and Singapore) in the more comprehensive group of "developed countries".
When using GDP/cap to define "developed" status, one must take into account how some countries have achieved a (usually temporarily) high GDP/cap through natural resource exploitation (e.g., Nauru through phosphate extraction and Equatorial Guinea) without developing the diverse industrial and service-based economy necessary for "developed" status — similarly, the Bahamas, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis depend overwhelmingly on the tourist industry.
Despite their high per capita GDP, the GCC countries in the Middle East, Brunei and Trinidad and Tobago are generally not considered developed countries because their economies depend overwhelmingly on oil production and export; in many cases (notably Saudi Arabia), per capita GDP is also skewed by an unequal distribution of wealth. Some of these countries, especially Bahrain, and Trinidad and Tobago have begun to diversify their economies.
 Comprehensive list of developed countries and entities
Organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), generally agree that the group of developed countries includes the following countries and non-sovereign territories/regions/entities (in alphabetical order):
- Image:Flag of Bermuda.svg Bermuda (UK)
- Image:Flag of Canada.svg Canada
- Image:Flag of the United States.svg United States
- Image:Flag of Hong Kong.svg Hong Kong (PRC)
- Image:Flag of Israel (bordered).svg Israel
- Image:Flag of Japan (bordered).svg Japan
- Image:Flag of Macau.svg Macau (PRC)
- Image:Flag of Singapore (bordered).svg Singapore
- Image:Flag of South Korea (bordered).svg South Korea
- Image:Flag of the Republic of China.svg Republic of China (Taiwan)
 Other Cases
 European Union members
Some organizations consider the remaining countries of the European Union — those which joined the body in 2004, especially the Czech Republic and Slovakia — as well as Romania and Bulgaria that will join the EU in 2007; among the developed countries, but these mostly former-Eastern bloc countries are rather newly industrialised nations, and some of them (such as Latvia, Lithuania and Poland) remain significantly less affluent than EU-15 countries. All European Union members, however, have a GDP per capita greater than the global average and high human development according to the HDI.
- Malta, an EU member since 2004, is classified as a high-income economy by the World Bank. Its HDI is, however, slightly lower than 0.9, ranked 32nd in the world.
- Slovenia, another EU member, is classified as a high-income economy and net donor by the World Bank, and has a HDI higher than 0.9, ranked 27th in the world. It is not, however, classified to be an "advanced economy" by the IMF.
 Other parts of the world
- Hong Kong and Macau have long been considered developed by most organizations. Although they were taken over by the People's Republic of China (PRC), which is a developing country, they are still considered internationally as separate economic entities (as they have their own currencies) and separate political systems according to the Basic Law of Hong Kong and the Basic Law of Macau. Due to the difference between their economies and that of mainland China , both territories retain their own border and custom controls.
- Mexico, while a part of NAFTA and a member of the OECD, remains less developed than its northern neighbours. For this reason some authors still consider Mexico a developing country rather than a developed one, though most properly Mexico lies between these two extremes as a newly industrialized country or NIC, with its HDI above 0.8 which is superior to that of Turkey, Russia and South Africa and possessing a booming upper middle-income economy.
- South Africa and Turkey are considered developed by some sources; however their GDP per capita (both have upper middle-income economies) and HDI ranking, clearly places them among the developing countries.
- UAE and Brunei are considered developed by some sources as their GDP per capita are relatively high. Their HDIs are, however, lower than 0.9. Besides, their economies are solely and/or heavily relying on the aspects of tourism (UAE) and oil/gas production (Brunei) that cannot be fairly taken into account as advanced and mature economies as developed countries.
- Argentina is often cited by economists like Paul Samuelson as a rare example of a country that reached developed status and then lost it. In the 1930's, thanks to an economy primarily based on agrarian exports and high consuption, Argentina was among the six wealthiest nations in the world, with a GDP per capita, and wages on par with those in France or the United Kingdom. Yet after the Second World War, the country failed to catch up with the most developed economies, and subsequent political inestability and economic crisis reduced Argentina to a middle-income country.
- Countries considered likely to join the ranks of developed nations in the future include : Argentina, Botswana, Chile, Malaysia, Mauritius and Uruguay. Some of these countries must pass further major hurdles (e.g., debt, diversification, democratization, crackdown on crime and corruption, lowering unemployment, education reform, development of a middle class) to attain full-fledged developed status; however, these countries have sufficient wealth to currently enjoy some benefits of "developed" status.
 Quality-of-life Survey
Another relative research about standard of living by Economist Intelligence Unit or EIU Quality-of-life Survey refers the top thirty countries with best quality of life include: Ireland, Switzerland, Norway, Luxembourg, Sweden, Australia , Iceland, Italy, Denmark, Spain, Singapore, Finland, United States, Canada, New Zealand, Netherlands, Japan, Hong Kong (SAR of People's Republic of China), Israel, Portugal, Austria, Republic of China (Taiwan), Greece, Cyprus, Belgium, France, Germany, Slovenia, Malta, United Kingdom and South Korea.
 Human Development Index
The UN HDI is a statistical measure that gauges a country's level of human development. Countries with an HDI of 0.8 or more — largely corresponding to what the conventional definition of being a "developed" country is — exhibit high development, and those with an HDI between 0.5 and 0.8 (including many of the former Soviet and Eastern Bloc states) exhibit moderate development. All countries listed here as "developed" posses an HDI over 0.9.
- World Bank (high-income economies)
- The World Factbook (developed countries)
- United Nations Statistics Division (definition)
- United Nations Statistics Division (developed regions)
- IMF (advanced economies)
- The Economist (quality of life survey)
 See also
- List of countries by GDP (nominal) per capita
- List of countries by GDP (PPP) per capita
- UN Human Development Index
- List of countries by Human Development Index
- Developing country
- Newly industrialized country
- Economic development
- Quality of life
- Sustainable development
- Standard of living