GCSE Revision - Development - Contrasts & Measures of

Some facts about the Contrasts

  • Not all countries have developed at the same rate and globally there is a very unequal distribution of wealth

  • The richer countries are known as More Economically Developed Countries (MEDCs)

  • The poorer countries are known as Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDCs)

  • MEDCs have only 20% of the world's population but own 80% of the world's wealth

  • MEDCs are mainly found in the northern hemisphere and consist of countries such as USA, Canada, Britain, Germany & Japan

  • LEDCs are mainly found in the southern hemisphere and mainly in the continents of Africa, Asia & South America

  • In 1980 the Brandt report identified a line that divides the world's richer and poorer countries

  • The main contrasts can be seen below

 

Measuring Development

Development is difficult to measure because so many factors must be considered.

Economic Development

The most important factor used to measure a country's development is GNP. It is calculated by

  • adding up the values of all the goods and services produced in a country during the year.

  • dividing the total by the number of people living in the country.

GNP is used to compare the wealth of countries, which means it is an economic factor.
GNP can be misleading for a number of reasons

  • In Africa there are few records of goods being sold and bartering goods still takes place

  • Not all countries in the world provide information for political reasons

Social Development

Social Development is measured using Population Data

  • Birth Rate - A high birth rate would indicate a LEDC  and a low one a MEDC.

  • Death Rate - A high death rate would indicate a LEDC  and a low one would similarly a MEDC.

  • Life Expectancy - If a country had a low life Expectancy such as 40-50 yrs this would indicate a LEDC and one with in excess of 70 would be a MEDC.

  • Infant Mortality - This is the number of infant deaths per 1000 population - obviously a country with a high rate would be a LEDC

  • Population per Doctor - Again the amount will indicate the type of country's development. A country with a high number of people per doctor will be a LEDC.

The HUMAN DEVELOPMENT INDEX (HDI)

As you can see there are two distinctive ways development can be measured - none is perfect! So in 1990 the United Nations introduced the HDI and it works by ranking countries according to their Quality of Life of their citizens. The HDI is a composite of three variables:-

  • Life Expectancy - is regarded as the best measure of a country's health and safety

  • Education - attainment is obtained by combining adult literacy rates and the average number of years spent at school

  • Income per Capita - is adjusted to actual purchasing power i.e. what an income will actually buy in a country.

Below are the top 3 ranked countries and bottom ranked countries according to HDI

Rank

Country

Life
Expectancy

Literacy
Rate

Years at
school

Real GNP
per capita $

HDI

1

Norway

78

99.5

11.8

24 940

.939

2

Australia

80

99.5

11.6

18 950

.938

3

Canada

79

99.5

12.1

21 130

.936

160

Barundi

49

50

0.2

620

.309

161

Niger

41

53

0.2

750

.274

162

Sierra Leone

48

 

29

0.5

580

.258

As you can see from the three methods used that the HDI is probably the fairest and most accurate. However it cannot disguise the fact that if you placed a map showing GNP and HDI together they would be very similar. A country must have wealth before it is able to spend it on improving the quality of life of its people.

Links - Revision DVD - Development

Common Questions

  • What are the advantages/disadvantages of using GNP to measure development

  • What other measures of development can be used

  • What is the HDI - How useful is it in measuring development

  • Choose one measure of development and explain its value in showing the level development in a particular country

  • Why is life expectancy a godd measure of development

  • What does GNP stand for