Difference Between Developing and Under Developed Countries

According to the criteria of the United Nations, the countries across the globe are categorized broadly into three categories. These three categories are developed, developing, and underdeveloped countries. The United Nations ranks the countries according to Human Development Index and socioeconomic development standards. Hence, distribute the countries in these three categories.

Developing vs Under Developed Countries

The main difference between the developing and underdeveloped countries is that in developing countries, the economy is well supported and stabilized. On the other hand, underdeveloped countries have a fluctuating economy with a downfall from the market establishment. The developing countries have a transition of establishing new markets and expanding their export.

Developing vs Under Developed Countries

Developing countries rank as a medium-range in Human Development Index and opt for industrialization. The government and societies of these types of countries are indulged in creating a better environment and nurture system. The developing countries also involve themselves in sustainable development and energy conservation.

Underdeveloped countries are those countries that showed very little development in terms of poverty, human living standards, economic conditions, and many other criteria. Some of the common examples of underdeveloped countries are Somalia, Madagascar, Sudan, Tanzania, etc. In terms of trade, underdeveloped countries have a greater amount of importing the necessary items.

Comparison Table Between Developing and Under Developed Countries

Parameters of ComparisonDeveloping countriesUnder Developed Countries
Import and ExportDeveloping countries have both export and import of goods throughout the world.Underdeveloped countries have a low export value than import values.
IndustrializationDeveloping countries have an evolution of industrialization and market minded.The underdeveloped countries lack industrialization and market investment.
ExamplesArgentina, Belarus, India, Croatia are the countries listed as developing countries.Zambia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Angola are the countries listed in the Underdeveloped countries list.
Emerging marketThe developing countries show a newly budding market for local as well as international export.The underdeveloped countries do lack new marketing and exports even in local markets.
World EconomyThe developing countries contribute a smaller part to the world economy and development.The underdeveloped countries have a low economy and hence do not contribute to the world economy.

What are Developing Countries?

The developing countries have better GNI as compared to underdeveloped countries as well as the facilities provided to each citizen. While talking about the annual income, World Bank has made two slabs for developing countries based on the annual income. The two slabs are lower-middle-income countries and higher-middle-income countries.

For lower-middle-income countries having an average GNI per capita of USD 1,231 to USD 4,095 lies in the list of developing countries. Also, the higher-middle-income countries have GNI ranging from USD 4,096 to USD 12,695 lie under developing countries. The developed countries have limited resources and fluctuations in weather, are prone to natural disasters, and fragile environments.

However, the developing countries sometimes ask for a loan from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank for making betterment of their facilities. These countries are in a state of transitional economy and transferring to market-based economies. The word developing itself claims that the country has started industrialization.

A country’s development is estimated based on many statistical indices such as per capita income per person, life expectancy, gross domestic product per capita, adult literacy rate, freedom index, and many other factors. Above all, the UN has developed a Human Development Index to evaluate all the indices and the countries are eventually categorized.

What are Under Developed Countries?

Underdeveloped countries are also known as low developed countries (LDC) or less economically developed countries (LEDC). In the decade of 1960s, the United Nations first introduced the concept of underdeveloped countries. The first list of less developed countries was published on 18 November 1971.

This list was printed in resolution 2768 of the United Nations. The United Nations has set four parameters to categorize the countries under the three slabs. The first parameter is poverty in which Gross National Income (GNI) per capita is calculated as an average for three years.

The average GNI per capita must range from USD 1,025 to USD 1,230 to be present in the LDC list. If a country exceeds the GNI of over $1,230, then the country will be shifted to the list of developing countries. The second parameter is human development which indices the health-related development over three years.

Under this parameter, the UN monitors the health issues such as malnutrition and vitamin deficiency diseases. Also, literacy rates and education are the two prominent aspects of this parameter. The last parameter is economic well-being which determines the import and export of the country, agricultural production, economic dependence on traditional income methods. Some of the countries listed in underdeveloped countries are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Yemen, and many more.

Main Differences Between Developing and Under Developed Countries

  • The developing countries have a great grip on both importing and exporting the commodities whereas underdeveloped countries have greater import of commodities.
  • The developing countries acquire a medium ranking as a transition whereas the underdeveloped countries have a bad and higher ranking in Human Development Index (HDI).
  • Developing countries have a transition economy and are better than underdeveloped countries whereas underdeveloped countries have a lower economy.
  • The developing countries focus on sustainable development goals along with industrialization whereas underdeveloped countries do not have sustainable goals.
  • The developing countries have strong and impactful media for enhancing social issues whereas, in underdeveloped countries, the media is not given much importance.


The developing and underdeveloped countries are in the race for the betterment of their countries. According to the UN standards of categorization, the developing countries are directing themselves on the principle of developed countries. This is so because the developing nations want to attain saturation of development.

The underdeveloped nations are trying to increase their per capita income so as increase the standards of living. This upliftment will eventually lead to better nourishment and education of the countrymen. The average GNI per capita of underdeveloped countries may lie between USD 1,025 to USD 1,230.

Furthermore, the average GNI per capita of developing countries must be USD 1,231 to USD 12,695. A country’s development is estimated based on many statistical indices such as per capita income per person, life expectancy, gross domestic product per capita, adult literacy rate, freedom index, and many other factors. The markets of developing countries are inspired by the western market and try to imitate their strategy.

Also, the underdeveloped nations need a revolution to buck up their local market to increase commodity production. This action might need a team of some superior and knowledgeable persons in their respective fields.


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