Developed vs Developing Countries

The more developed a country is, the higher their GDP and standard  of living.  Here are some characteristics of developing and developed countries.

Characteristic Developing Developed
GDP Low High
Industry and trade Weak Strong
Infrastructure, technology and finance systems Weak Strong
Life expectancy Low High
Infant, under-five and adult mortality rates High Low
Literacy rates Low High
Immunisation rates Low High
Healthcare/education systems Poor Established

WHO Mortality Strata

The UN classifies nations into mortality strata from A to E, in an attempt to suggest the level of development for each state. The five strata are based on mortality rates of children under five and adult males aged 15-59:

Strata Child mortality Adult mortality
A very low very low
B low low
C low high
D high high
E high very high


For the full list of UN member states by stratum, click here.

Variance in health status

There are a variety of differences in determinants experienced by people in developing vs developed countries, which leads to differences in mortality, morbidity, LE, and human development. The following table represents the general differences in these areas between developing and developed nations.

Developed Developing
Mortality generally lower, attributable mainly to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as CVD, diabetes, obesity generally higher, attributable to communicable, treatable, preventable conditions
Morbidity higher proportion is attributed to NCDs  higher proportion attributable to communicable diseases
Life Expectancy generally higher 60-70+ generally lower <50-60
HDI generally higher, Australia has one of the highest often lower, due to poorer health or social inequities or barriers

See impact of factors on health status article for reasons why these differences exist.