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World issues

International development

Plans for a development in northern NigeriaPlans for a development in northern NigeriaA developed country is one which has a high income per person and high standards of living. In developed countries, a large proportion of people are employed in manufacturing and service industries, such as banking and leisure. A developing country, by contrast, is one with a low income per person and poor health care, education and nutrition. In developing countries, most people are employed in farming or mining. International development is a term that means both the process by which developing countries can work towards becoming developed ones—and the measure of their progress.

Percentage living on less than $1.25 a dayPercentage living on less than $1.25 a dayMexico states, GDP per capita (2008)Mexico states, GDP per capita (2008)


There are many ways of measuring a country's development. Its economic wealth can be measured by its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is defined as the value of all the goods and services produced there, including those produced by foreign-owned firms. Sometimes this is given as a "per capita" (per head of population) figure, but this is likely to be misleading because wealth is generally not shared out equally amongst a country's population.

The three wealthiest people in the world possess more financial assets than the lowest 48 nations combined. The 85 wealthiest people have a combined wealth equal to that of the bottom 50% of the world's population, or about 3.5 billion people.

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