What Is the Definition of an Underdeveloped Country?

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An underdeveloped country is a nation that lags behind most others in industrialization, education, standard of living, healthcare, life expectancy and other technological and cultural norms. Rwanda, Somalia and Ethiopia are all examples of underdeveloped countries. Of the 50 most underdeveloped countries in the world, 34 of them are on the continent of Africa.

Many things prevent underdeveloped nations from developing. Most of these countries are extremely poor and do not have the resources to develop programs to educate and train citizens to farm or perform skilled work. Malnutrition also lowers life expectancy and renders many incapable of working. Basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter are scarce. Sometimes, natural disaster impedes underdeveloped countries even further. Haiti is one such example. In 2010, the country was devastated by a massive earthquake. Because the country is so poor, years later, much of the buildings that were destroyed have still not been rebuilt. A recent study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that there is correlation between tropical nations and underdevelopment by pointing out that of all of the nations in geographic areas that are considered tropical, only two are not either classified as underdeveloped or developing. The study suggests that it is too difficult and expensive to adapt energy resources and to implement the technology used in temperate climates to tropical climates.