FACTOID # 15: A mere 0.8% of West Virginians were born in a foreign country.
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Encyclopedia > Developed countries

A developed country is a country that has achieved (currently or historically) a high degree of industrialization, and which enjoys the higher standards of living which wealth and technology make possible. In most cases, countries with high per capita GDP are "developed countries"; sometimes high GDP can be achieved (usually temporarily) through natural resource exploitation (e.g. Saudi Arabia, oil; Nauru, phosphate) without the country becoming developed.

Observers often see strong correlations between countries with high economic development and their possessing robust democratic institutions or free market economies, though in neither case is the correlation absolute or uncontroversial.

Synonyms include industrialised countries, more economically developed countries (MEDC) and the First World.

Other terms sometimes used to describe the developed/developing country dichotomy are first world/third world (the term second world was during the Cold War reserved for communist states,) North/South, or industrialized countries/non-industrialized countries. The term Western countries has similar, though not identical, connotations.

In the United Nations system there is no established convention for the designation of "developed" and "developing" countries or areas. In common practice, Japan in Asia, Canada and the United States in northern America, Australia and New Zealand in Oceania and Europe are considered "developed" regions or areas. In international trade statistics, the Southern African Customs Union is also treated as a developed region and Israel as a developed country; and countries of eastern Europe and the former U.S.S.R. countries in Europe are not included under either developed or developing regions.

Generally, according to various sources (the World Bank, the OECD, and the United Nations), developed countries include the following:

Andorra Germany Malta Sweden
Austria Greece Monaco Switzerland
Belgium Iceland Netherlands United Kingdom
Denmark Ireland Norway Vatican City
Faroe Islands Italy Portugal
Finland Liechtenstein San Marino
France Luxembourg Spain
Americas Asia Oceania Africa
Bermuda Hong Kong Australia South Africa
Canada Israel New Zealand
Mexico Japan
United States Singapore
South Korea

Note: Countries in italics are countries in which its status as "developed" is disputed among the sources consulted.

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