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Least developed country facts for kids

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Least Developed Countries map
Least developed countries are shown in blue.

A least developed country (LDC) is a country that the United Nations considers to be the least developed out of all the countries in the world. They normally have the lowest ratings on the Human Development Index. The idea to name LDCs started in the late 1960s. The first group of LDCs was listed by the UN in November 1971.

Classification process

Indicators are used to determine whether a country is a least devleoped country.

  1. The gross domestic product, per person, is low. Currently, the average over three years is considered.
  2. An index measuring social factors, such as health, education and literacy among adults. Currently, the Human Assets Index is used for this purpose.
  3. A third index looks at how vulnerable the economy is as a whole. Currently, the Economic Vulnerability Index is used.

To be considered a least developed country, a country must have high levels of poverty, low human resources and a vulnerable economy. The UN looks at indicators, such as gross national income, nutrition, health, education and literacy. Economic vulnerability is recorded on the Economic Vulnerability Index.

LDC criteria are reviewed every three years. Countries may stop being considered an LDC when indicators show that they have become developed enough. Since the LDC category was created, four countries have graduated to developing country status. The first country to do this was Botswana in 1994. The second was Cape Verde, in 2007. Then Maldives in 2011, and Samoa in 2014. It is expected that Equatorial Guinea and Vanuatu will be the next countries to be promoted from LDC status.

As of 2014, there are 48 least developed countries. There are also three countries which meet the criteria for LDC status, but have asked to not be included in the index: Ghana, Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe.

Current list

The "least developed countries" according to the United Nations:

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