Country Classifications Models for Grouping Countries

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Country Classifications Models for Grouping Countries

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Country Classifications

Models for Grouping Countries in the World

A north/south model of classifying countries


Country Classification

How many countries are there in the world? This question is not as easy as it may seem to answer. The reality is that while there are perhaps 193 commonly accepted countries, many are still in dispute as independent nations, depending on the perspective. For example, many nations of the world consider Tibet and Taiwan to be countries in their own right, but China would disagree, and maintain that they are provinces of China. So what determines whether or not a region can claim to be a “country” or “nation”?

The answer may depend on your perspective!


Country Classification


Country Classification

Most countries can be grouped according to their level of social and economic development and have been classified in various ways over time.


Criteria for Country Classification

Social Development is measured by characteristics such as level of education, health care, jurisprudence (legal system), life expectancy, rate of infant mortality, etc.


Criteria for Country Classification

Economic Development is measured by characteristics such as community wealth and trade through per capita GDP (Gross Domestic Product), ratio of cars to people, per capita electrical power capacity, etc.


Missed it?

Terms such as Developed, Newly Industrialized and Developing have been used to group countries together based on similar social and economic development criteria.


A Three World Model

of Country Classification1.) Developed Countries are considered to be socially and economically progressive and include countries such as Canada, the US, Germany, France, Japan, etc.


A Three World Modelof Country Classification

2.) Newly Industrialized Countries are identified more on economic characteristics as countries that are in a transitional stage and moving from an agriculturally based economy to one that is industrial and/or service based such as India, China, Brazil and Mexico.


A Three World Modelof Country Classification

3.) Developing Countries

are considered to be moving towards more progressive social and economic status. Examples of developing countries would be Bangladesh, Haiti, Ethiopia, etc.



*It must be emphasized that just because a country is considered to be “developing”, does not mean that it is not culturally sophisticated with a rich and diverse history.

Some believe that this Three-World geopolitical model is too simplified and prefer a Five-World Model.


A Five World Model

for Classifying Countries1.) First World Countries

would be the equivalent to Developed Countries (e.g. Canada, US, Germany, etc.)


A Five World Model

for Classifying Countries2.) Second World Countries

include those that were or are communist and such as Cuba, China, Russia, etc. They have social development characteristics similar to those of First World or Developed countries but their economic development characteristics are more like that of much poorer nations such as Fourth and Fifth World or Developing countries (or vice versa).



Fidel Castro of Cuba

Flag of Former Soviet Union


A Five World Model

for Classifying Countries3.) Third World Countries

in this classification would be similar to those in transition such as the Newly Industrialized Countries (e.g. India, China, Brazil, etc.)


A Five World Model

for Classifying Countries4.) Fourth World Countries include those that are only in early stages of transition towards being developed. For example: Rwanda, Swaziland, etc.


A Five World Model

for Classifying Countries5.) Fifth World Countries

show little evidence of even starting a transition towards development, often due to level of poverty or due to being affected by war or natural disaster. For example: Haiti, Afghanistan, Congo, Somalia, etc.


4 World Model


Old Core: Established First World ‘Western Democracies’ – Canada, Germany

New Core: Newly globalized countries participating in the world economy. Not fully established governments or social services. - Poland Malaysia

Near Core Periphery – Continued economic social and political growth they display potential to join globalized core


Far Periphery - formerly known as third world countries. Poorest of the poor… equivalent to fourth and fifth world. Non

perticipants in the globalized core except to have resource and human capital exploited - Bangladesh, Zambia


Four World Model

The advantage of the 4 World Model is that it takes into account the new world order of Globalization and the interconnected Globalized world.Involvement in this world through trade, technology, social and cultural connections as well as economic and social development determines

the groupings.

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