Classifying parts of the world

The level of development of a country shows how economically, socially, culturally or technologically advanced that country is. The way in which countries are classified is changing.

The Brandt line

In the past, the Brandt line, which divided the planet into the rich north and the poor south. However the world has changed a lot in the last 20 years and the Brandt line is now too simplistic. For example, China and India are no longer seen as poor countries.

The Brandt line separates the world into the rich north and poor south. The line separates Europe from Africa, and north Asia from south Asia. Australasia is considered part of the rich north.

The World Bank classification

A country's level of development is now classified in a different way. The World Bank uses the names:

  • low income countries (LIC) - these are countries with a GNI per capita of $1,045 or less, eg Chad and Ethiopia
  • medium income countries (MIC) - these are countries with a GNI per capita of more than $1,045 but less than $12,746, eg Mexico and Iraq
  • high income countries (HIC) - these are countries with a GNI per capita above US$ 12,746, eg Germany and the USA