6.1 Comparing Country Development

Acquire: What are examples of countries with different levels of development?

Development is “the process of improving the material conditions of people through diffusion of knowledge and technology. Developing countries have advanced socially and economically, whereas developing countries are in the early stages of development. The Human Development Index, created by the United Nations, measures the development of countries socially, economically, and demographically. You will look at the Human Development Index in the other activities.

​Step 1: Go to the ArcGIS Online map, Comparing Country Development, and explore the map.

Step 2: Turn on the two layers: HDI: High Development and HDI: Low Development.

  • Which countries are in a very high development category?
  • Which countries are in the low development category?
  • Can a country have a middle level of development?

Step 3: Turn on the layer, HDI: Medium Development.

  • Which medium development country is an example of a newly industrializing country?

Explore: What characteristics help define a country’s level of development?

Step 4: Click several countries to compare their data.

  • A nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), the total value of a country’s goods and services in a year, can help indicate how developed that nation is. (T/F)
  • How is the mean (average) years of schooling used to assess development?
  • High life expectancy indicates access to medical care. People in developed countries usually have longer life expediencies than people in developing countries. (T/F)

Analyze: Why is there such a difference between the level of development of countries around the world?

Step 5: Click the button, Basemap, and select National Geographic.

  • Is there a pattern regarding the location of developed and developing countries?
  • The Brandt line splits Earth into two halves: the wealthy south and the more impoverished north. (T/F)

Step 6: Draw a line along the 30-degree north parallel.

If you see a Modify Map button, click on it. Click ADD, and then choose Add Map Note. Type a name, use the Map Notes template, and click OK. Follow the 30-degree north parallel dividing the wealthy north and more impoverished south. Change the color of the line to red.

  • Are there any exceptions to the rule?

Act: What patterns exist among country development levels?

  • Which regions have a significant number of developed countries?
  • What characterizes the middle development countries?
  • How can countries advance in their development?


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Human Geography Lab Manual by R. Adam Dastrup, MA, GISP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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