This definition provided a way of broadly categorizing the nations of the Earth into three groups based on social, political, and economic divisions. Although the term continues to be used colloquially to describe the poorest countries in the world, this usage is widely disparaged since the term no longer holds any verifiable meaning after the fall of the Soviet Union deprecated the terms First World and Second World.
This name is applied to the technologically less-advanced, or developing, nations of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The term was originally used to distinguish these countries from the Western nations and those that formed the Eastern bloc and usually excludes China.
The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned or neutral with either capitalism and NATO (which along with its allies represented the First World) or communism and the Soviet Union (which along with its allies represented the Second World).
Third World Countries in terms of political rights and civil liberties.
The most repressive regimes in the world.
List of countries with the worst records for political rights and civil liberties. Within these countries and territories, state control over daily life is pervasive and wide-ranging, independent organizations and political opposition are banned or suppressed, and fear of retribution for independent thought and action is part of daily life.
According to the Freedom House report Freedom in the World 2007, there are eight countries judged to have the worst records:
Burma (Myanmar), Cuba, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, and
Also included are two territories, Chechnya (Russia) and Tibet, whose
inhabitants suffer intense repression. These states and regions received the
Freedom House survey’s lowest rating: 7 for political rights and 7 for civil
The report also includes nine further countries near the bottom of Freedom
House’s list of the most repressive:
Belarus, China, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Laos, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Zimbabwe. The territory of Western Sahara (most of the territory is controlled by Morocco) is also included in this group.
While these states scored slightly better than the “worst of the worst,” they offer very limited scope for private discussion while severely suppressing opposition political activity, impeding independent organizing, and censoring or punishing criticism of the state.
(Source: Freedom House Freedom in the World 2007)
See the full report on Freedom House
See also below: Third World Countries in Terms of Press Freedom
Third World Countries in terms of their Gross National Income (GNI)
Countries with the least gross national income based on purchasing-power-parity (PPP) per capita in int’l Dollars.
Below countries with an average yearly income per capita and year under $ 1000,
GNI per capita
|4||Democratic Republic of the Congo||Middle Africa||675|
|13||Sierra Leone||Western Africa||901|
| Sources: IMF — International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database, April 2005
(*) CIA The World Factbook (covers countries not mentioned by the IMF, information may refer to 2004 or earlier.)
Slightly different figures you will find at The World Bank Group
| A decent standard of living
as measured by GDP per capita* (PPP US$).
Below the list of 20 countries with the lowest Human Development Index (HDI)
Adult literacy rate
Combined gross enrolment
GDP per capita (PPP US$)
GDP rank minus HDI rank
|169||Central African Rep.||39.8||48.6||31||1,170||0.25||0.43||0.41||0.361||-15|
|Source: UN Human Development Report 2004|
Third World Countries in Terms of Poverty
The world´s most impoverished countries.
The least developed countries (LDCs) are a group of countries that have been identified by the UN as “least developed”.
United Nations used the following three criteria for the identification of the LDCs
1. a low-income estimate of the gross national income (GNI) per capita.
2. their weak human assets and
3. their high degree of economic vulnerability.
There are 50 countries listed in the United Nations comparative analysis of poverty,
34 African countries, 10 Asian countries, 5 Pacific Island Nations and one Caribbean nation.
Third World Countries in Terms of Press Freedom
Reporters Without Borders is publishing annually an index of the countries of the world according to their respect for press freedom.
Below the list of countries, you can call them Third World of Press Freedom, the “black holes” for news where the privately-owned media is not allowed and freedom of expression does not exist. A list of countries right at the bottom of the fourth World Press Freedom Index.
|154||Saudi Arabia||Middle East||66,00|
|155||Lao PDR||South-East Asia||66,50|
|157||Iraq||Western Asia/ Middle East||67,00|
|163||Myanmar (Burma)||South-East Asia||88,83|
|167||North Korea||Eastern Asia||109,00|
|Source: Reporters Without Borders|