The developing countries are those countries of the world, which have lower per capita incomę compared to developed countries likė the USA, UK, Japan, etc. and the process of economic development has started but not completed. In these countries, there is rapid population growth, mass poverty, lower living standards of people, illiteracy, unemployment and underemployment, underutilization of natural resources, and so on are major problems of developing countries. Developing countries are facing problems due to these characteristics.
Developing Countries Map picture (from Wikipedia)
What are the characteristics of Developing Countries?
These countries are also known as the underdeveloped countries or poor countries or third World or less developed countries or backward countries. but to avoid impoliteness of some words like backward, less or underdeveloped, the word ‘developing’ is used more
frequently while addressing such countries.
The main characteristics of developing countries and problems are.
1. Low per capita income:
The first important feature of the developing countries is low per capita income. For example, per capita income, of Nepal
is only US $766, which is very low compared to developed countries like the USA, Canada, Norway, Switzerland, Japan, and others. The list of per capita income of some developed and developing countries are completely given here.
2. Mass Poverty:
Mass poverty is one of the major characteristics of all the developing countries. People in these countries are not able to satisfy even the basic needs. The extent of poverty prevailing in these countries is also reflected in the low per capita income. A large proportion of the population in
these countries lives below the poverty line. For example, 28.5 percentage of the Population in India; 21.6 percentage of the population in Nepal; 31.9 Percentage the population in Bangladesh and 33.5 percentage the population in. Ethiopia lives under the poverty line. But in developed countries, the percentage of the population below the poverty line is very low.
3. Rapid population growth:
Rapid population growth is a common characteristic of most of the developing countries. Their population has been rising at rates varying between 1 and 3 percentage per year for the past few decades. For example, the population growth rate of developing countries like Nepal is 1.35; India is 1.31; Pakistan is 1.55; and Ethiopia is2.1. In these countries, infant and child mortality rates are high. Because of this reason, people feel insecure and give birth to many children. The other main causes of rapid population growth in these countries are poverty, illiteracy, social and religious belief, early marriage, and so on.
Top Five Characteristics of Developing Countries
4. Excessive dependence on agriculture:
In developing countries, the majority of the population lives in rural areas. it’s only one source of income and employment in agriculture. For example, in developing countries like Nepal, India, and Bangladesh approximately 66 percentage, 64 percentage and 74 percentage of the population (labor force) respectively are engaged in the agriculture sector. Likewise, the agriculture sector has also a large share of its GDP. For example, its contribution to GDP in Nepal, India, and Bangladesh is 31.7 percentage, l8 percentage, and 16 percentage respectively.
5. Underutilization of natural resources:
Most of the developing countries are rich in natural resources like minerals, water, and forest. For example, Nepal is very rich in water resources. It can produce 83,000 MW hydroelectricity if it utilizes all water resources fully but the current production of hydroelectricity is around 829.2 MW, which is less than 1 percent of its total potential. Likewise, Africa is rich in mineral resources like copper, tin, and gold and Latin America is rich in minerals like petroleum, iron, and lead. But these natural resources are not being properly and fully utilized because of lack of technical knowledge, inadequate capital, lack of infrastructure, Technology backwardness, and so on.
6.Unemployment and underemployment:
Widespread unemployment and underemployment are important characteristics of developing countries. High dependency on the agriculture sector, low industrial development, Lack of proper utilization of natural resources, lack of development, lack of Manpower planning, etc.have created, etc have created unemployment and underemployment in the developing countries like Nepal. ln these Countries, the problem of underemployment is more serious than the problem of unemployment. It is mainly due to the lack of alternative sources of employment except for agriculture.
The underemployment is found in rural areas and unemployment is found in the urban areas. In most of the developing countries, more than than 10 percent of the population is openly unemployed and more than 30
percentage population is underemployed. Problems of developing countries
7. Technological backwardness:
The developing countries are also backward in the state of Technology. The technological backwardness is reflected firstly in the high average cost of production despite low wages; secondly, in high labor-output and capital-output ratios and the fall in input productivity. The main reasons for technological backwardness are illiteracy, lack of skilled manpower, and deficiency of capital required to install new technology.
A dualistic economy refers to the economy where there exist technically primitive sectors and technically advanced sectors. For example, in developing countries like Nepal, there are technically Primitive sectors in the rural areas whereas there are technically advanced sectors in the urban areas. In rural areas, people use primitive farming techniques and there are also small cottage industries. But in the urban areas, there are large modern industries, which use advanced technology.
9.Dependence on primary exports:
The developing countries are oriented towards the production and export of primary products. The development of secondary and tertiary sectors is extremely lacking. That’s why these countries export primary production of lower value and import finished goods of higher value. Consequently, developing countries face the problem of deficit in foreign trade.
10. Inadequate social services:
In developing countries, social services like education, health, safe drinking water, sanitation, etc. are not adequately provided to the people, and these problems runes the people quality. The social services and their states have a great linkage with the living standard of people. Education represents the level of skill, capability, and knowledge among the people. Likewise, infant mortality rate, life expectancy at birth, availability of health services, etc. represent the health states of people. In developing countries, people lack most of these facilities which represent the low standard of living in totality.
In most of the developing countries, the school enrollment of children is very low, girls are more deprived of the school enrollment, the adult literacy rate is low and life expectancy is low too.