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Key Gap Indicators of Development

GCSE, AS, A-Level
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

What measures can be used to assess the development gap?

There are many different measures used to assess the development gap, each one offering an alternate way of dividing up the world with regards to how developed it is. Here, we shall look at some of the most common indicators of development used in geography.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

GDP is s how much money a country makes from its products over the course of a year, usually converted to US Dollars:

  • the sum of gross value added by all resident producers in the economy + product taxes - any subsidies not included in the value of the products.

Gross National Product (GNP)

GNP is the GDP of a nation together with any money that has been earned by investment abroad minus the income earned by non-nationals within the nation.

GNP per capita

GNP per capita is calculated as GNP divided by population; it is usually expressed in US Dollars.

It's a common indicator used for measuring development, but is imperfect as the calculation doesn’t take into account certain forms of production, such as subsistence production.

Birth and death rates

Crude Birth and Death rates (per 1000) can be used as an overall measure of the state of healthcare and education in a country, though these numbers do not give a full picture of a nation’s situation.

The Human Development Index (HDI)

The HDI is a composite statistic calculated from the:

  • Life expectancy index
  • Education index
  • Mean years of schooling index
  • Expected years of schooling index
  • Income index

Countries are ranked based on their score and split into categories that suggest how well developed they are.

Infant mortality rate

Infant mortality rate is the number of infants dying before reaching one year of age per 1,000 live births in a given year.

Literacy rate

The rate, or percentage, of people who are able to read is a useful indicator of the state of education within a country.

High female literacy rates generally correspond with an increase in the knowledge of contraception and a falling birth rate.

Life expectancy

This simple statistic can be used as an indicator of the:

  • healthcare quality in a country or province
  • level of sanitation
  • provision of care for the elderly

It should not, of course, be used on its own to describe these things.

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