There is no single way to calculate the level of development because of the variety of economies, cultures and peoples. Geographers use a series of development indicators to compare the development of one region against another. For example:
- Health. Do the population have access to medical care? What level of healthcare is available – basic or advanced? Is it free?
- Industry. What type of industry dominates? LEDCs focus on primary industries, such as farming, fishing and mining. MEDCs focus on secondary industries, such as manufacturing. The most advanced countries tend to focus more on tertiary or service industries, such as banking and information technology.
- Education. Do the population have access to education? Is it free? What level of education is available (ie primary, secondary or further/higher education)?
The North South Divide
MEDCs are countries which have a high standard of living and a large GDP. LEDCs are countries with a low standard of living and a much lower GDP.
The map shows the locations of LEDCs and MEDCs. Most of the southern hemisphere is less developed, while countries in the northern hemisphere are more developed.